Up your juice and smoothie game.
Delicious and nutritious—that’s the mantra we are channeling for all of our meals this year. We are leaning into the wholesome, nourishing power of foods and ensuring they are not only packed with nutrients but loaded with good flavor. Gone are the days of self-deprivation. Hello, tasty goodness! Cue the smoothie and juice recommendations.
Juices and smoothies have long been celebrated as a top-notch way to kick start your day with veggies, fruits, and healthy vitamins, while keeping you full until your next meal. And they are! But ensuring they check a few extra boxes can help get the most out of your nutritious drink of choice. Liz Moody, the host of The Healthier Together podcast, author, and online content creator, says now it’s all about the metabolic benefits—which means maintaining a healthy level of blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure. The days of the all-fruit juice or smoothie that throw your blood sugar out of whack and leave you hungry an hour later are no more.
“There has been a lot of research about how things like sugar impact our blood sugar and overall metabolic health,” she says. “In the days of the all-fruit smoothies, you weren’t having that lovely longer blood sugar curve effect.” Now, she says, this is changing.
Liz looks for the metabolic health trifecta when ordering her go-to drink. For her, this means a smoothie with fat, fiber, and protein. To ensure your smoothie fits the bill, look for an offering with hearty greens in the mix like spinach or kale for micronutrients and fiber. For fat, add in healthy fats like avocado, chia seeds, flax seeds, or your yogurt of choice. “These healthy fats keep you satiated longer,” she says. And to get that protein fix, hemp, protein powder, and even nut butters are a great addition.
When opting for a juice, Liz recommends leaning toward the freshest juice possible that is heavy on the veggies. Once the juice is made, the nutrients are oxidized, and you lose some of that nutrient-packed benefit. And, unlike a smoothie that can have everything your body needs for a balanced meal, a juice isn’t a meal. Make sure and opt for other food pairings with your juice to keep your diet balanced. “I would [drink juice] with an actual meal so I am getting the nutrients as a bonus, not a substitute,” she says.
And while that extra cacao or peanut butter in your smoothie might feel like an indulgence, Liz has another approach worth considering. “I don’t view anything as an indulgence because I don’t think anything is off limits,” she says. “Go for the trifecta, and make sure it is something you are always enjoying,” she says. “Wellness is a tool. The second it isn’t helping you live your happiest life, it’s no longer wellness. If you are suffering through your smoothie, what can you add to make you excited to consume it?”
It’s not always feasible to make your own juice from home. Going to the grocery store takes time, and having to balance the amount of time it takes to meal prep in your schedule with the expiration date of all the ingredients takes extra mind power. Luckily, there are fantastic spots all across the Districts where you can get a tasty, nutritious juice or smoothie fix. Visiting Juicewell, Clean Juice, Life Cafe, and Cranky Carrot are great spots to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need, while also enjoying a delicious treat.