Did you know it is recommended to eat between five and seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day? In order to meet this recommendation, we would need to eat multiple servings of fruits and vegetable at every meal and in between! Eating enough and a variety of fruits and vegetables can be challenging to most, but there are some solutions to make this challenge much easier. A common solution is adding fruits and vegetables into smoothies. Smoothies are quick, on-the-go options that are easy to prepare and can provide excellent sources of nutrition.
Fruits and Veggies
Smoothies tend to be fruit based which makes them taste sweet while adding benefits like fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. The most common fruits used are berries, apples, bananas, and tropical fruits like kiwi and pineapple. However, any fruit can be used based on personal preference. You can use fresh, frozen, or even canned fruit in your smoothie. If using fresh, make sure to remove any pits or seeds.
Frozen fruit is the most convenient option as the fruit has already been prepared for ready-to-eat. Frozen fruit can always act as ice cubes and keep your smoothie cold. Canned fruit may also be used, but avoid those canned in heavy syrups and make sure to drain the can. Just by adding a few different types of fruits to a smoothie can increase the number of servings you consume in a day.
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale can also be added to smoothies. While these vegetables may not appeal to some by themselves, combined in a smoothie with other flavors can make them quite tasty. These vegetables are also high in calcium and iron and make great additions to the diet. Vegetables like spinach and kale are best added to a smoothie fresh.
Adding the Liquid
As you can see smoothies can be customized to fit multiple taste preferences based on the ingredients added. Another way to customize smoothies would be with the type of liquid added. Water is always a zero-calorie option that does not provide any additional flavor to the smoothie. Water can be used to thin the smoothie and create the right consistency.
Milk can also be used to add more flavor as well as providing calcium and vitamin D to the smoothie. If a thicker smoothie is preferred, yogurt can be a great option. Yogurt not only thickens the smoothie, but can provide calcium, vitamin D, and protein as well.
A final liquid that can be added to a smoothie is fruit juice. Fruit juice would cause the smoothie to be thin while providing additional flavor. However, fruit juice with other whole fruits added may make it too sweet so only minimal juice should be used. Ice cubes are also a way to keep your smoothie cold and provide some additional liquid.
*Recipe from eatright.org
- 2 cups frozen strawberries
- ½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 banana, sliced
- ½ kiwi, sliced
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- ½ cup ice cubes
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- ½ cup 100% apple juice
- Combine strawberries, blueberries, banana, kiwi, spinach, ice cubes, milk, and apple juice in blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve in a cup with a side of low-fat or fat-free cheese for a nutritious snack.
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 100, Total fat: 0g, Total Carbohydrate: 25g, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Protein: 3g, Calcium: 101mg.
Total fruit and vegetable servings: about 3 per serving
About the Author:
My name is Ellen Purvis and I am currently a dietetic intern for BGSU. I completed my Bachelors in Dietetics from BGSU in 2015 and just completed my Masters in Food and Nutrition in August of 2017.
After completion of the dietetic internship, I hope to find a job working with children as a clinical dietitian in a hospital. I would also love to become a Lactation Consultant along with being a Registered Dietitian.