Tips to build a better smoothie

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Who loves smoothies? I know I do. There’s nothing quite like a smooth, creamy blend of fruits and veggies to make your taste buds and body sing.

Smoothies have many benefits beyond good taste; they can help you increase the number of fruits and vegetables in your diet, which is a cancer-protective eating style. This is a good thing, as it can be hard to meet your vegetable requirement of about 2 ½ – 3 cups per day for adults, and fruit requirement of about 1 ½ – 2 cups per day for adults. So packing a few servings into your glass is a good start.

Mango and Carrot Ginger Smoothie

And, unlike juices, smoothies use the whole fruit or vegetable. So you’re getting all of that fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical goodness in the entire plant food.

Here are a few tips for building a better smoothie:

  • Fill at least one-third of your blender with vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, cucumbers, greens, and celery.
  • Add unsweetened fresh, canned, or frozen fruit—oranges, bananas, berries, mangoes, peaches—to add natural sweetness and nutrients
  • Skip the added sugars, such as honey, table sugar, or agave. Let the fruit serve as all the sweetener you need.
  • Add fortified soy or dairy milk to increase protein, as well as calcium and vitamin D in your smoothie.
  • Add a pinch of spice, such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, or cardamom, to further increase flavor and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Try this Mango Carrot Ginger Smoothie for starters.

Thanks to Sharon Palmer for guest blogging and recipe

Sharon Palmer, RDN, The PlantPowered Dietitian, is a Los Angeles-based, award-winning food and nutrition writer, plant-based food expert, and author of Plant-Powered for Life and The Plant-Powered Blog.


Author: Sharon Palmer

Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™, is an award-winning food and nutrition expert, journalist, and editor. She is author of The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, 2012) and Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes (The Experiment, 2014). Sharon also is editor of Environmental Nutrition, nutrition editor of Today’s Dietitian, blogger for The Plant-Powered Blog, and publisher of her monthly The Plant-Powered Newsletter. Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting her local farmers market, gardening, and cooking for friends and family.

5 thoughts on “Tips to build a better smoothie”

    1. Most fruits, vegetables and grains contain both soluble and insoluble fiber and both are important for health and disease prevention. Soluble fiber, found in oats, barley, lentils, peas, and some fruit and vegetable, attracts water and become a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. One easy way to remember how this fiber works is understanding that this fiber is “soluble” in water and can be dissolved. Soluble fiber can help with trapping substances within the digestive tract like toxins. It also helps slow stomach emptying and can help with blood sugar control.

      Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, vegetables and the outer shell of many grains, provides “roughage” that is indigestible. This fiber is not soluble in water and stays mostly intact. This type of fiber provides bulk to the stool, supports regularity and moves the stool through the digestive track faster.

      Aim for 25-35 grams total fiber per day. AICR’s research shows that foods containing fiber help reduce risk for colorectal cancer.

    1. FROM: Dori Mitchell, MS, RDN, AICR’s Coordinator, Nutrition Outreach

      Dear Ms. Ashokan,

      I am delighted that you find our blog helpful in learning about cancer prevention. Your question about ground meat and cheeseburgers is timely as we enter grilling season.

      Before I address your question about ground meat, I would like to note that AICR does recommend avoiding processed meats as these meats are linked to higher risk of colorectal cancer, even more so than large amounts of red meat. Including processed meat very occasionally, as you mentioned you do, is reasonable.

      Eating fish twice a week aligns with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines to consume 8 ounces of seafood weekly.* Eating a variety of fish, particularly fatty ones such as salmon, tuna, and sardines provides beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

      To answer your question about ground meat, AICR recommends limiting red meats (beef, pork and lamb) to 18 ounces (cooked) weekly to reduce risk of colorectal cancer. And ground beef is not considered to be a processed meat per AICR’s definition – processed meats are considered to be those smoked, cured or salted.

      There is room on your plate for a modest size burger made of lean ground meat. Four ounces raw (a quarter pound) will shrink to 3 ounces while cooking. A 3-ounce patty is about the size of a deck of cards.

      According to McDonald’s website, their cheeseburger is 300 calories with 12 grams of fat. A little more than one-third of calories come from fat. So, can you enjoy a prepared burger occasionally? Sure. Be sure to round out your meal with salad, veggies and fruit.

      Better yet, make your own cheeseburger with 92-96% lean ground meat. For flavor and veggie boost, add to ground beef sweet potato, butternut squash, peas, beans or lentils. Top your burger with a thin layer of real cheddar, Swiss or lower-in-fat Jarlsburg cheese and serve it on a whole-grain bun. Again, round out your plate with salad, veggies and fruit.

      I invite you to join our New American Plate Challenge to learn more practical ways to eat nutritiously, become more active and get to and stay at a healthy weight. Sign up at

      Please feel to contact me with any additional questions at the AICR Nutrition Hotline at

      * For 2000 calorie meal plan.

      Best wishes for your good health,

      Dori Mitchell, MS, RDN
      Coordinator Nutrition Outreach

  1. these subjects are very informative and interesting,I have learned quite a bit, I like all this information to teach you what to eat and what not to eat. I especially like the information on processed meats because I don’t reguraly eat processed meat, just a little now and then. Like I think I eat a lot of ground beef, not too much and I also am trying to eat more fish, at least two times a week. Could you provide more information on ground beef like the Mcdonalds cheeseburgers, are they bad for you?

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