Blending and juicing vegetables are both popular ways to get more nutrients into your diet. However, there are some key differences between the two. With juicing, the juice is extracted from the produce, leaving behind the fiber. Blending pulverizes the entire vegetable or fruit, including the skin, seeds, and pulp. This results in a thicker, nutrient-dense beverage.
So can you use a blender instead of a juicer to make vegetable juice? The short answer is yes, but there are some caveats. Keep reading to learn more about juicing vs. blending vegetables, the pros and cons of each, and tips for making veggie juice in a blender successfully.
Juicing vs. Blending Vegetables
Juicing and blending vegetables may seem similar, but they produce very different results. Here’s an overview of how the two processes work:
A juicer separates the liquid juice from the pulp and fiber. It typically uses a spinning metal blade that shreds the produce against a mesh filter, allowing the juice to flow out while trapping the solids inside the machine.
Juicing removes the fiber from fruits and vegetables, resulting in a smooth, drinkable liquid. The juice contains most of the vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds from produce with very little fiber.
A blender combines all parts of the produce into one thick beverage. It uses fast-spinning blades that finely chop and liquefy the ingredients.
Blending keeps all of the fiber intact since no parts are separated or removed. The resulting beverage has a smoothie-like consistency that is thicker than juice. It contains the vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and plant compounds from the ingredients.
Pros and Cons of Juicing vs. Blending
Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of juicing and blending vegetables:
Pros of Juicing
– Juice is very easy to drink and digest since it has no fiber. This makes nutrients highly bioavailable.
– It’s possible to consume a large amount of produce in one sitting. You can juice veggies that you wouldn’t enjoy eating whole.
– Juice offers an immediate nutritional boost and energy. The natural sugars are rapidly absorbed.
– Juice extracted from vegetables does not affect blood sugar as much as fruit juice. It’s low in sugar and calories compared to blending.
Cons of Juicing
– The fiber is removed, which provides many health benefits. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
– Juice offers almost no protein, fat, or other macronutrients—only micronutrients. It does not satisfy hunger very long.
– Nutrients are absorbed more rapidly, but also cleared more quickly. The effects do not last as long as a blended drink.
– Produce oxidizes faster, so juices need to be consumed right away before nutrients deplete. They cannot be stored as long as smoothies.
Pros of Blending
– All of the fiber is retained, which promotes fullness, gut health, and stable blood sugar levels.
– Blending raw vegetables allows for better nutrient absorption since the cell walls are broken.
– Smoothies help hydrate the body and provide protein, healthy fats, and carbs for satiety and sustained energy.
– Blended drinks retain nutrients longer than juices, allowing them to be stored in the fridge for a few days.
Cons of Blending
– The fiber content makes blending more difficult to digest for some people, especially in large amounts.
– Drinking enough vegetables to equal a large salad requires a large blended beverage, which can be heavy and filling.
– Blending oxidizes nutrients over time. Blended drinks still need to be consumed within a day or two before nutrient levels drop.
– More produce is required compared to juicing since no parts are removed. This makes blending more expensive.
Can You Juice in a Blender?
While blenders and juicers are designed for different functions, it is possible to make juice in a blender. However, there are some drawbacks:
– Using a blender will yield a thicker, pulpy juice with fiber and sediment, unlike the smooth and clear juice from a juicer.
– You’ll need to use a fine mesh strainer to separate the liquid from the pulp after blending. This can be time consuming and you’ll lose some nutrients.
– A blender is not as efficient at juicing leafy greens, wheatgrass, herbs, sprouts, and other fibrous veggies. The juice yield will be much lower.
– Sediment from the pulp can get stuck under blade and lid. This requires more cleaning than a juicer.
– The blender can overheat if run too long trying to fully liquefy produce into juice, damaging the motor.
Tips for Juicing Vegetables in a Blender
While juicers are ideal for extracting large quantities of juice from produce, you can still make small batches of vegetable juice using your blender. Here are some tips:
– Choose produce with a high water content like cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, peppers, or citrus fruits. Avoid very fibrous options.
– Cut veggies into small pieces and add water to help achieve a juice-like consistency. Use a ratio of roughly 75% water to 25% chopped vegetables.
– Blend the produce and water on high speed until completely smooth and pulverized. Letting it blend for 2-3 minutes is ideal.
– Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, nut milk bag, or layers of cheesecloth to separate the juice.
– Press and squeeze the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Compost the leftover pulp.
– Drink the fresh juice right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.
– Clean the blender well after use. Avoid letting pulp dry onto the blades or container, which can be difficult to remove later.
Nutrients in Blended vs. Juiced Vegetables
Juicing and blending offer slightly different nutrient profiles since juices contain no fiber while smoothies retain all of the fiber. Here is a comparison of the general nutrition you get from vegetable juices versus blended vegetables:
|Nutrient||Juicing Vegetables||Blending Vegetables|
|Vitamins & Minerals||Extracted into juice||Retained in blend|
|Phytochemicals||Present in juice||Higher in blend|
|Macronutrients||Very low||Higher amounts|
|Sugar||Low with veggies||Moderate amounts|
As you can see, both juicing and blending provide tons of micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Juices are lower in macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbs since the fiber is removed. They are also very low in calories.
Blending provides the benefit of extra fiber for gut health, as well as more protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates for energy and fullness. The fiber also slows the absorption of sugars. The drawback is that blended drinks are higher in calories than juices.
Green Vegetable Juice vs. Green Smoothies
Two of the most popular options are straight green veggie juice made in a juicer versus blended green smoothies. Here’s a comparison:
Green Vegetable Juice
Made by juicing leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, or other vegetables. May contain celery, cucumber, parsley, etc.
– Packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients from raw veggies
– Low in sugar and calories
– No fiber makes it easy to drink high veggie amounts
– Nutrients absorb rapidly providing an instant boost
– No protein, fat, fiber, or macronutrients
– Not very filling
– Oxidizes and loses nutrients quickly
– Time consuming to make large quantities
Made by blending leafy greens with fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, etc. Popular fruits include banana, berries, mango, pineapple, etc.
– Provides complete nutrition including micronutrients, fiber, protein, etc
– Blending helps break down cell walls for better nutrient absorption
– Fiber aids digestion and keeps you full
– Can customize smoothie macros and ingredients
– Thicker texture is harder to drink in large amounts
– Sugar and calories dependent on fruit and addons
– Still oxidizes faster than eating whole vegetables
– Needs to be consumed within a couple days
As you can see, green juices provide an easy way to flood your body with veggie nutrients. But they lack staying power due to no protein or fat and can’t be stored long.
Green smoothies offer a more complete nutritional profile with the benefit of fiber for gut health. But the texture and sugar content make drinking huge amounts of greens challenging.
Should You Juice or Blend Your Vegetables?
So when it comes down to juicing vs. blending, which method is healthier? Here are some things to consider:
– **Your health goals** – If you want to give your body an instant concentrated nutrient boost, juice vegetables. If you’re looking for a meal replacement with protein and fullness, choose blending.
– **Vegetable and ingredient types** – Juice is ideal for leafy greens, herbs, sprouts that blend poorly. Blend is better for cruciferous veggies, roots, fruits.
– **Fiber needs** – Juicing removes fiber, so it’s not ideal if you need more fiber in your diet. Blending provides all the fiber from the produce.
– **Blood sugar** – Veggie juice won’t spike blood sugar much, but fruit smoothies will. Juicing is better for diabetics or those monitoring sugars closely.
– **Time** – Juicing takes more time and produce to make juice. Blending is quicker and lets you make a full meal easily.
– **Convenience** – Blends store for a couple days while juice is best fresh. Blending allows making multiple smoothies at once.
The bottom line is juicing and blending both have unique benefits, but blending usually provides a more balanced nutritional beverage for most people due to the fiber and macronutrients. However, incorporating some fresh vegetable juicing can provide an extra boost of micronutrients.
Recipes for Juicing and Blending Vegetables
Here are some healthy recipes to help you get started with making veggie juices and smoothies:
Green Vegetable Juice Recipe
– 1 cucumber
– 2 celery stalks
– 1 cup kale leaves
– 1⁄2 lemon, peeled
– 1⁄2 inch ginger
– Small handful parsley
1. Wash and prep all ingredients. Cut cucumber and lemon into chunks.
2. Run all ingredients through a juicer and collect juice in a glass.
3. Stir or shake juice and drink immediately.
Classic Green Smoothie Recipe
– 1 banana
– 1 cup spinach
– 1 cup almond milk
– 1 tbsp almond butter
– 1 tsp matcha powder
– 1 cup ice
1. Add all ingredients to blender.
2. Blend on high until smooth consistency is reached, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour into glass and enjoy. Can store leftovers in fridge up to 2 days.
While juicers are specially designed to extract liquid juice from fruits and vegetables, you can make small batches of veggie juice using a blender. This requires straining the blended produce through a sieve to separate the fiber.
Juices and smoothies both have health perks. Juicing focuses solely on flooding your body with micronutrients. Blending provides more well-rounded nutrition with fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
For most people looking to increase vegetable intake, blended green smoothies are a tasty and satisfying option. But pure veggie juices can provide a concentrated nutritional boost and are low in sugar.
The ideal approach may be to consume a mix of blended and juiced veggies and fruits. Listen to your body, experiment to see what feels best, and have fun with making different juice and smoothie recipes. Both can be great additions to a healthy lifestyle.