Juicing and smoothies for lunch: Tips and tricks for maximum health

PUBLISHED: 16:36 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:36 15 August 2016

Pack lots of veg into your juice or smoothie (c) denizya, Thinkstock

Pack lots of veg into your juice or smoothie (c) denizya, Thinkstock

denizya

When time is of the essence don’t succumb to a jumbo pack of Monster Munch, maximise your nutrition and cram in those veggies to drink on the go

Traditionally the ‘liquid lunch’ meant a sneaky glass of wine or two at the office local, followed by a low key performance for the rest of the afternoon. But rather than quashing our energy levels, more and more of us are using liquids for a big hit of nutrition, especially when we’re short of time or don’t have the opportunity to eat something more substantial.

In all honesty, juices and smoothies are not a replacement for a proper meal. Nothing beats a big plate of fresh vegetables, lean meat and fish to really get the best from our bodies. But there will be times when we are lacking a few vitamins and minerals, and these can be easily boosted with just a little bit of forward thinking.

Get equipped

Of course there are shelves full of shop-bought options to choose from, but bear in mind the primary reason for producing these products is profit. As such the cheaper ‘filler’ ingredients will fill much of the drink. And even those labelled as vegetable juices have a core base of apple juice with much lower percentages of highly nutritious greens; as such you are consuming far more sugar than is necessary.

The best way to get the most out of your juice is to make it yourself so invest in a robust juicer, or better still a blender (which means you’ll include the whole fruit or vegetable and increase your fibre intake) and make it your mission to drink your greens whenever you feel the need to raid the biscuit tin.

OK, so we know it isn’t quite the same as a chocolate Hob-Nob, and ‘all things in moderation’ is our mantra, but for that final push for summer health and vitality just try it out while the weather is warmer. You’ll also boost your chances of moving into autumn and winter with a greater resilience to nasty bugs.

Taste buddies

What you choose to put into your juice or smoothie all comes down to taste. But this is where you need to take care as squashing lots of fruit releases lots of sugar and thus rather defeats the object. As much as possible make your primary ingredient a dark leafy green such as kale or spinach, add some cucumber, celery and herbs to inject a bit of flavour (parsley and mint work well), then if you need a bit of a sweetener, just add half an apple and a squeeze of lime juice.

Granted leafy greens are an acquired taste in juices but they pack such a nutritional punch that it’s really worth trying to bear with it. Experimenting is the key and you’ll soon find the recipes that work for you, just always keep in mind that fruit is generally high in sugar.

If you’re thirsty…

Blend a watermelon. This wonderful fruit is over 90% water so is very hydrating. It’s also a great source of vitamins A, B6 and C plus lycopene and anti-oxidants. Try freezing it in lolly moulds too, the juice is so sweet kids will never guess it’s so healthy!

If you need more substance…

Consider adding ingredients that are denser such as avocadoes (great for those good fats and a real skin booster), bananas (for potassium, vitamins B6 and C), a handful of oats or flax, or perhaps a splash of almond milk.

If your sweet tooth is too much…

Of all the fruits berries are best! Choose blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, either fresh or frozen, then top up with organic yogurt or nut milk.

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