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Are frozen smoothies healthy?

Does a frozen smoothie contain all the same nutrients as a fresh one? How does the freezing process work? Are frozen smoothies better for you?

In this quick guide, we will explore everything you need to know about frozen smoothies, so you can have all the information you need to make the best decision. While we don’t sell frozen smoothies ourselves, we don’t discriminate when it comes to how you get your five-a-day!

 

 

What is a frozen smoothie?

 

 

This isn’t a trick question! As the name suggests, a frozen smoothie is a drink where you blend frozen fruits and vegetables. Typically, you add a base like milk, yogurt, or water. Often, you can keep frozen smoothies in the freezer for up to a couple of months once blended, too. It can be a convenient and healthy way to get your daily hit of fruits and veggies, as well as key nutrients like protein and calcium. 

 

We know that life can get hectic, and having something to rely on that’s easy and quick to get essential nutrients can be a lifesaver. But it’s important to know that not all frozen smoothies are created equal. Some commercial smoothie brands are full of added sugars and additives. The word “smoothie” automatically makes you think it can only be healthy, but this isn’t always the case! 

 

If smoothies contain fruit-flavored juices, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or ice cream, they can contain more than a day's worth of added sugar. For instance, a rich-type smoothie can contain 24 teaspoons of sugar. Restaurant fruit smoothies can contain between 11.25 and 15.75 teaspoons of sugar. When you think that that daily recommendation for sugar is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men, one smoothie takes you way over the suggested limit. 

 

So, are frozen smoothies good for you?

 

The answer is yes, generally, but they need to be made correctly. Just like some low-fat foods are full of added sugar and other less healthy ingredients, you want to keep an eye on your smoothie ingredients. 

 

 

Frozen smoothies can be a great source of nutrients and form part of a healthy and balanced diet. The good news is that you can have delicious, satisfying, and nutritious frozen smoothies with a few simple steps. 

 

Does freezing preserve the nutrients in fruit and vegetables?

 

 

Ah, the million dollar question!

 

Both fresh and frozen fruits and veggies are excellent additions to your diet. But does freezing smoothies lose nutrients? 

 

Frozen fruit and vegetables contain the same nutrients as fresh ones. The nutrients in fresh produce are at their peak right after being picked. When fruit and veg are frozen quickly after picking, it actually helps retain the nutritional value from that peak moment. By flash freezing produce at that time, you can lock in all those good nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. 

 

If you’re eating fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, the nutritional value will be similar to produce flash frozen. However, the longer fruit and veggies sit around on the shelves, the more their nutrient content diminishes, naturally. So, if the fruit you’re buying from the grocery store has sat in a warehouse for a week before hitting the shelves, the nutrient content may have deteriorated. The nutrient content in produce sitting around for longer can be lower than fruit that’s flash-frozen straight after picking. 

 

Freezing is a quick and convenient way to make fruit and vegetables last longer – and in the case of kencko products, flash freezing and slow drying. And in some cases, frozen produce is nutritionally superior to fresh. 

 

Scientists have compared the nutrient levels of fresh produce sitting in the fridge for three days and their frozen equivalents. The researchers found more beneficial nutrients in the frozen produce. The report found that in two out of three cases, the frozen fruits and veggies contained higher levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols and lutein.  

 

Home freezing vs. freeze-dried products

 

 

There are different methods for freezing fruit and vegetables for smoothies: standard home freezing and freeze-drying. While freezing generally stops the growth of microorganisms and locks in nutrients, the two freezing methods are different. 

 

 

Home freezing

 

 

We love making smoothies at home. We get to choose what ingredients and flavors we use, and in what quantities. And on a hot day, the chill of frozen ingredients is a great way to cool off. 

 

As far as preservation methods go, freezing is one of the traditional ways to store food long-term at home, but it can also lead to a handful of challenges, textural and otherwise! 

  1. Ice slushy - when you freeze fruit and veggies at home, they keep hold of water. This can turn your frozen smoothie into more of an ice slushy, making it slightly less appetizing and enjoyable. 

  2. High-quality blender - to make a frozen smoothie, you need a good blender that can handle frozen ingredients. Otherwise, the blender will struggle to make a frozen smoothie and end up much thicker than intended. (And the good ones tend to be pretty steep in price!)

  3. Make a plan - although frozen smoothies are convenient, you will need to plan and make sure you have all your ingredients to freeze beforehand. Sometimes this can take out the spontaneity of having a smoothie for breakfast. 

  4. Storage - if you’re running short on storage or freezer space, frozen smoothies can take up quite a lot of room. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you’re trying to prepare for the week. (Plus, you’ve gotta keep that blender somewhere!)

  5. Freeze and thaw - if you’re repeatedly freezing and thawing frozen fruit and veggies, this can affect the quality of produce. 

 

Keep in mind that when freezing food at home, the water will expand and turn to ice. This process can damage the cell walls in the food, which can change the flavor and texture of foods. For example, some dairy products will curdle when you freeze them. 

 

If frozen food isn’t stored properly, it can be susceptible to freezer burn. This happens when cold air comes into contact with the surface of the food. While it may not look tasty, it’s usually safe to eat. But severe freezer burn can affect the flavor and texture of the food, so you may not want to eat it. 

 

 

Freeze drying

 

 

Freeze drying produce not only freezes the fruit and veggies but dries them out, too. Essentially, it removes the moisture from the food while retaining the original flavor, color, taste, and nutritional content. 

 

A freeze dryer works by freezing the food rapidly. Because the produce is frozen so quickly, the ice doesn’t have time to expand and change the structure of the food. After freezing, a little heat is added, which turns any ice into vapor instead of becoming liquid. Then, the temperature increases slightly more to remove any water left. The whole process takes place in a vacuum chamber. The result is a concentrated powder that you combine with water or milk to make a smoothie. (Think of your favorite kencko smoothie, before you mix it with water or milk!)

 

Freeze-dried products have the same advantages as home freezing for preserving ingredients and convenience. But it doesn’t have any of the downsides of home freezing. Another bonus is that freeze-dried products take up much less space as you don’t need to store them in the freezer. 

 

Using freeze-dried ingredients, you can create healthy frozen smoothies that are quick and easy to prepare. Typically, freeze-dried ingredients have similar nutritional content to fresh or frozen. That means it’s a great option for adding extra nutrients to your diet without the hassle of prepping, freezing, and storing ingredients at home. 

 

Make sure you’re getting a nutritious and healthy smoothie by choosing a variety of ingredients. Although it’s tempting to stick with fruits only, vegetables are ideal for smoothies and add crucial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

 

At kencko, we handle the planning and prep, so you don’t have to. Our freeze-dried smoothies use nutrient-rich ingredients flash frozen quickly after picking for optimal flavor and nutrition. You simply add water or milk for a healthy pre-made smoothie in seconds. 

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