The first month of the new year is winding down. And, for many, those resolutions that optimistically began Jan. 1 are also beginning to wane.

One of the most often pledged changes is eating healthier. Of course, as the weeks pass, the resolve can start to slip. But that doesn’t mean that the plan should be scrapped, instead it can be a time to simply reset and refocus. An easy way to do that is to incorporate juices and smoothies into one’s routine.

Sarah Davidson, owner of Simple Meals in The Club on St. Simons Island, says both are good ways to add in more healthy elements — fruits and veggies — to the day.

Both are highly customizable, allowing individuals to mix up their

“Juices and smoothies are also a great way to add a variety to your daily routine, and offer a lot of adaptability to different ingredients. One day you can do a smoothie of strawberries and bananas, and the next day you can throw in the extra avocado that you had left over from dinner,” she said.

But while both involve pureeing fruit and vegetables like spinach, Davidson said they are not created equal. Juices and smoothies are actually different, providing bodies with different kinds of nutrients.

“Juicing refers to extracting the nutrients from the vegetable, or fruit, but juices are without the fiber of the original vegetable or fruit. By removing the fiber the body is able to more easily absorb the nutrients and is much less work on your system,” she said.

Smoothies, on the other hand, consist of blending the whole fruit or vegetables possibly even the skin. Davidson said that allows the beverage to maintain its fiber content.

“By blending the vegetable it maintains the fiber and breaks it down to make it easier on your system. Your body will break down smoothies with whole ingredients slower allowing for a more even release of nutrients throughout the day,” she said.

Both, of course, have their appeal. Taste, texture and even mood can play a role in whether one opts for a juice or a smoothie. For juices, Davidson says there are a few things to consider. The equipment on hand is, naturally, is an important one. To create juices, you obviously need a juicer, rather than a blender.

“The most common type of juicer, a centrifugal juicer, or one that spins the ingredient releasing the juice last at most 48 hours, while a cold press juicer, also known as a masticating juicer, is one that crushes the fruit or vegetable and it continues to maintain good nutrition for up to 72 hours,” she said.

The reason is not just freshness and quality. Davidson said the nutrients also start to break down after that time period.

“Juices are best enjoyed within 24-72 hours depending on what type of juicer you have. The nutrients will begin to decrease over time,” she said. “Drinking fresh juices at any time during the day is going to give you an added boost to your nutrition.”

Smoothies, on the other hand, are a little more accessible, in that the equipment is less specific — blenders work fine. They should also be enjoyed in a timely fashion and the ingredients, since they are whole, must also be given some thought.

Davidson notes that store-made smoothie ingredients often contain hidden sugars, flavors and chemicals which will make what you think is a healthy alternative, a bad choice.

“Making your own smoothies is always an excellent choice. ... smoothies have gotten much more accessible with newer, high powered blenders coming in single servings, and smaller capacity as well as local grocers selling a greater variety in frozen fruits,” she said.

“Frozen fruits that do not have any additives are just as beneficial as fresh fruits when preparing smoothies.”

Easy Smoothie recipe

Berry Blast

1 ½ c of liquid almond, coconut milk, milk, water, kombucha

7 large frozen strawberries

¾ c blueberries (frozen or fresh)

2 T ground Flax seed

1 T Chia seed

1 c fresh spinach

1 T honey

1 T almond butter (or peanut butter, or ½ avocado)

Other options: different fruit (cherries, pineapple, oranges,) or vegetables (kale, cucumbers, carrots)

Blend together using a high speed blender until the desired consistency is reached. Blending will work more efficiently when liquid is put in first followed by harder ingredients such as the frozen fruits.

Juicing will require a juicer to extract the greatest quantity of nutrients.

Sunrise

4 carrots

2 oranges

1 beet

Can add in mint, or ginger to give a fresher, lighter flavor. Place all ingredients in juicer per your specific juicer’s instructions and enjoy!

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