Are Smoothies Healthy?

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Here Is How To Make Sure They Are Both Healthy And Immensely Satisfying

Are smoothies healthy? Rich, fruity, cool, and sweet–can anything like that be healthy? If it is a smoothie, of course. Well, the real answer is more nuanced. Depending on what you put into it, it can be very nutritious–or not very healthy. Let’s focus on the healthy–that’s what you’re after, right?

The original smoothie came from Brazil. Contents were soft fruits and ice blended into an icy smooth slush. Smooth is the operant word. Most smoothies today are made with some kind of milk. This can be plain milk or soy milk along with soft fruits or juices and, traditionally but not necessary, sweetener. The milks are more often thicker: yoghurt, frozen yoghurt, ice milk, or ice cream–or their soy surrogates. The healthiness of these additives depends on whether you are seeking their protein and calcium, or needing to avoid their sweeteners.

Making smoothies healthier without losing their taste is not difficult. The fresh fruits are themselves naturally sweet; no other sweets are really needed–no sugars, milks, or yoghurts. If you use one of the Margaritaville frozen concoction makers for your smoothies maker, you get the incredible smoothness of the perfectly blended shaved ice mixed with your fruits and so forth. They are creamy without the cream–as smooth as a restaurant milkshake–with no calories added for that great texture! As an alternative to a Margaritaville machine, a blender and a separate ice shaver can give similar results with a little extra work.

You can dramatically bump up the nutritional value of your fruit-and-ice smoothie by adding juices. Hard fruits like apples, pears, the citrus fruits, and often pineapple do not blend particularly well. With a juicer–an excellent home model like the Omega VRT330 or the Breville BJE510XL–you can get the juice from those fruits without the lumpy pulp.

Better yet, throw some vegetables–especially the green, leafy ones–in with the fruit you are juicing. Just be a bit careful. Wheatgrass in particular is a stellar addition on the nutrient scale, but a lot of people report that it upsets their stomachs in too large a quantity or drunk with a meal. Go easy when you start out adding vegetable juice. Nevertheless, with any of the vegetables, the nutrient value skyrockets. Without the pulp, your smoothie is ultra-smooth. With the icy slurry, the sometimes slightly harsh taste of the vegetable-fruit juices is smoothed out. These are the best, most nutritious smoothies you can imagine.

The benefits of juicing go beyond just the nutrients. Those nutrients are concentrated–you’ve spun out the extra pulp and kept the good-for-you-stuff. You also have extra time, even when you create a smoothie from the juices–juicing and blending take less time than cooking (and retain especially the fragile micro-nutrients). Drinking your breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up is quicker, too, than chewing the equivalent amount of fruit or vegetables!

Here is a smoothie worth trying:

The Odd Couple Smoothie. Juice one cut up yam with a cored Granny Smith apple. Place the juice, and a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, or both in your Margaritaville frozen concoction maker. Fill the ice hopper, set to “smoothie,” and push “GO”! In seconds you will have the yummiest, smoothest smoothie you could ever imagine–one full of nutrients, full of taste, but low in calories.

Are smoothies healthy? You can bet your sweet bananas on it!

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