“Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

For a couple of months, my husband was majorly into juicing. He bought loads of fresh produce and when I got home from work, I could expect a nice glass of yummy juice in the fridge for me. I don’t know if it was the challenge of keeping our shelves stocked with fresh produce or the chore of cleaning the juicer, but the juices stopped coming…at least for now.

Karla, one of our community nutritionists, suggested that this month’s Nutrition Newbie post focus on juicing and making smoothies. When I asked her why, she told me that juices and smoothies are all the rage at a time when most Americans only get 59 percent of the recommended amount of vegetables daily and 42 percent of fruits (according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010).

You can’t walk through a grocery store without seeing endless bottles of green juices and fruit smoothies, many of which have hefty price tags. Karla wants you to know that BOTH can be made at home with just a few ingredients at a very low cost.

Karla said she’s constantly asked which is better – juicing or blending? Here’s what she says are a few of the benefits for both:

Both juicing and blending your fruits and vegetables provide nutritional benefits, offering a boost of vitamins and minerals, while strengthening your immune system. They are both easy, fast ways to incorporate the recommended daily amount. However, I do prefer one over the other…

Juices are nutrient-packed, quickly and easily digested to give you that vitamin boost. With juicing, you do leave behind the pulp and the skin, leaving the fiber behind. This process may leave you feeling hungry shortly after due to the missing fiber. Not to mention, juicers can be expensive and require more clean up.

You won’t need special equipment to make a smoothie; an ordinary blender will work just fine. When blending, you are using the entire fruit or vegetable, skin and all, which provides you with the dietary fiber. The nutrients get slowly absorbed, leaving you fuller for a longer period of time. Dietary fiber in your diet is important, and can help you with lowering cholesterol, relieving digestion issues, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.

So if you ask me, I’d have to go with blending a smoothie. You get a filling boost of vitamins and minerals. Not to mention an easy way to add fiber to your diet. I recommend adding greens to your smoothies, such as kale or spinach. Also adding milk (soy, almond, or regular) or yogurt will add some protein. And a banana or avocado can add a creamier texture.

And there you have it – smoothies are the winner with our community nutritionists!

Here’s a favorite smoothie recipe from our community nutritionists:
1 large handful or Kale
½ green apple
1 celery stick
½ banana
½ cucumber
½ cup frozen pineapple

Fill blender with cold water until max line.

***Read past Nutrition Newbie posts!