Expert Q&A

Smoothies: A substitute for fruits and veggies?

Is it OK to “drink” my fruits and veggies in a store-bought smoothie?

Everyone can use more fruits and veggies in their diet.  For some people, fresh produce is inconvenient because it’s messy or has to be peeled and chopped.  The idea that a smoothie could substitute for produce is very appealing—no mess, and all you need is a straw.  Most grocery and convenience stores have displays of refrigerated and shelf-stable “smoothies”; but look at the ingredients list.  Example: a bottle with “blueberry” and “smoothie” on the label listed orange juice as the main ingredient.  Another that seemed to be a “green” smoothie (think healthy greens) listed apple juice first.  Terms like “juice smoothie” should be a warning—very little real fruit is included in these products.  Even made-to-order smoothie bars list juice and sherbet as main ingredients.  If you want a real smoothie, you should really cut up some fruits or veggies and blend it yourself.

Donna Feldman, MS, RD
Contributing Expert

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