Smarter smoothies with a) greens or b) mixed veg slaw mix?
July 9, 2024 9:23 PM   Subscribe

What's a smarter approach to the veg component of my morning smoothie? Either 75 grams of a) chopped kale and baby spinach; or b) a "superfood" (barf) slaw mix that includes cabbage (35%), carrot (20%), beetroot (14%), kale (11%), daikon (11%), and celery (9%).

By "smarter" I mean 'more nutritionally interesting/beneficial'.

Both taste equally fine; the slaw mix requires a lot less additional liquid to blend (as it is much less volume for the same weight, and so is easier to drink, in that there is less of it).

The rest of the smoothie is soy milk, peanut butter, what my supermarket endearingly calls "gentle fibre mix", and whatever frozen fruit I feel inclined towards on the day. I've recently started adding greek yogurt, too. Truly, I live an exciting life.
posted by oxford blue to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a cool food comparison website that lets you compare them all. It suggests that of all these foods, Spinach and Kale are the most nutritious.

But - Beets and Carrots get their colour from phytonutrients, which are antioxidants, so make sure to still eat some. (Ditto other orange, red, purple, and yellow veggies: Sweet Potate, Tomate, Peppers, etc).

Cabbage, Daikon, and Celery are good for you too, because they're veggies! But probably not as much as the others above. I think of veggies with pale colours as being mostly water: still good to eat them, but for the most nutritions payoff, produce with stronger colours (dark green, orange, red, purple) would probably win.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:09 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

Another vote for spinach and kale. And actually, you could do fine with frozen spinach, because the frozen spinach is richer in nutrients than the the baby spinach. (Link to kind of a pop article, but the information is sound enough). It tastes better, too. Spinach is one of my favorite foods, but baby spinach is tasteless.
For even more flavor, you might think of the flavors that go into a saag paneer. You could add coriander, cashews and a hint of chili.
posted by mumimor at 12:37 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Variety is best, right? So switch between them. Or add a little of one to the other.
posted by trig at 12:44 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]

I forgot ginger! Ginger is delicious, healthy and spicy in a good way. And so is turmeric.
posted by mumimor at 12:45 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

more nutritionally interesting
are you just using one variety of kale? there are many [greatist]
posted by HearHere at 1:50 AM on July 10

Porque no los dos? (In alternating smoothies.) I met a vegetarian biologist once who told me that he tries to eat plants from as diverse a range of species as possible, for maximum nutritional coverage.

(Cabbage and kale are both the same species, the much-revered Brassica oleracea.)
posted by heatherlogan at 5:12 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

Best answer: TL:DR Kale/spinach technically comes out ahead but overall it really doesn't matter, do whichever one strikes your fancy.

But I got interested in the site nouvelle-personne linked, because I felt like a straight comparison between each individual ingredient is a little deceptive, since each of these options is a blend. So I made a little spreadsheet comparing the Spinach/Kale blend, the Super-slaw and just Kale alone: Google Sheets link.

Depending on which nutrient you're looking at, all three options are pretty equal or trade off on the no 1 spot. But I felt like a) the macronutrients were really skewing the chart and b) it was still not really showing proportionality of scale. So I made a second chart comparing the nutrient data to the FDA's recommended daily values, which I think really demonstrates that at this volume, outside of a few specific nutrients, the differences tend to be within a few percent or tenths of a percent. Yeah, technically kale has the most calcium, but your soy milk has like ten times more calcium than that,'re good, y' know?

Also, just keep in mind that all nutritional data for natural products are estimates; your veg may have more or less of any micronutrient due to its growing conditions, harvesting practices, shipping etc. (This is why sometimes you'll see report showing frozen veg as having more nutrients than fresh, because it's been flash frozen almost immediately after being picked, at peak condition.)

Anyway thanks for a fun couple of hours avoiding the real spreadsheets I do for work, enjoy the smoothies!
posted by radiogreentea at 10:46 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]

If any of those things are local and in season, my guess is that they'll be more nutritious. While not true for all produce, fruits and veggies that are local and travel less far to get to you may hold some more of their nutritional components. So I say aim for in season options, especially with your fresh stuff. And yes, why not rotate through these options, depending on what's available and your whims? I don't mean day-to-day, but buy something, use it up, and consider something else next time you're shopping.
posted by bluedaisy at 3:02 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your well blended, refreshing and invigorating comments!

Special thanks to radiogreentea for their wonderful spreadsheet and thoughts. And right on to the folk who advocated for variety!

I was so excited about all things smoothies I rushed out to buy frozen spinach. As I was throwing it into the blender I noticed an ominous warning on the package which lead to a google spiral. It turns out that frozen spinach is a great conduit for e coli and other puke-y things. So I think I might abort this morning's smoothie and go and get a pain au chocolat instead...
posted by oxford blue at 7:22 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

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