Nutrition and health specialists have long recommended that to have optimal well-being, we should eat five to 11 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

It is amazing, though, when I ask patients, students and friends how many servings they usually eat, I often get a sheepish look and some shuffling of the feet.

They usually tell me that they maybe get in a salad with lunch, a vegetable with dinner, and perhaps a fruit snack.

It just doesn’t seem to be easy for most of us to get that many servings of fruits and veggies in during an average day.

Check with the average kid under 5 and see how much they like vegetables. Usually not very much.

So here are some suggestions I have found helpful to get more easily.

• Use high-pulp fruit juice when possible. Remember though that one cup of orange juice has three times as much sugar as an orange.

Some fruit juices are mainly sugar so go with pure or concentrated juices rather than those that have as much sugar as a soda.

• Make it a habit to keep around for snacks a piece of fruit or two, or convenient, long-lasting, dried fruit like raisins, figs, apricots, dates and cranberries.

• Remember old favorites like V8 juice (available in low sodium and spicy) or some of the great Odawalla juices like carrot, antioxidant mix or superfoods drink for a quick burst of liquid fruits and veggies. Keep several varieties in the fridge to keep things interesting and tasty and handy.

• If you don’t care to blend a smoothie or juice at home, the Oasis Juice Bar on 25th Street in Galveston or Smooth Tony’s on 9th Street near UTMB both have a marvelous selection of fresh and tasty smoothies and juices.

• If breakfast is a hard meal for you to get in, try making a smoothie for the start of a healthful day’s diet. Try one or more the recipes, or even later in the day.

Drinking your fruits and veggies can easily get you on your way to meeting the minimal of servings we need daily. One good smoothie or juice can give up to 3-4 servings of plant-based antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, in a single easy to prepare, refreshing drink. All you need is a blender or juicer, some simple ingredients, and a little motivation.


Women’s Wellness Smoothie

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1⁄2 banana

2 teaspoons flaxseed oil

1⁄2 cup frozen fruit, blueberries, mango, peach, strawberries or a mixture

Dash of lime juice, optional

Dash of honey, optional

Whirl in blender until smooth and delicious.

Also makes great frozen pops for children. Just pour into a mold, insert stick and freeze.

(From Dr. Julie McKee, UTMB integrative medicine faculty member)


Kale Smoothie

1 bunch of kale, stems removed

Juice of one lemon

1⁄2 cup water

Blend these three ingredients until smooth adding more water if necessary. Then add:

1 avocado

1 banana

Lemon zest to taste

Blend until smooth and delicious.

SERVES: 2-3

(From Dr. Julie McKee, UTMB integrative medicine faculty member)


Joint Juice

Kale, cabbage, beets, carrots, ginger, aloe vera


Solar Flare

Carrots, beet, orange, jalapeño, lime, garlic


Berry Good Smoothie

Blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, banana, almond milk (for the best smoothie consistency, freeze the fruit, especially bananas, before blending)


Orange You Glad Smoothie

Peach, mango, orange, pineapple (a great smoothie without banana)

A reminder from Kathleen is to chew your juices to improve absorption of nutrients and add super healthy wheatgrass when possible. Experiment with proportions of ingredients until you find your optimal combination.

(From Kathleen DiNatale of Galveston’s Oasis Juice Bar and Market)


Dr. Sierpina’s Jump Start Morning Smoothie

High-pulp orange juice

Mixed berries or blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Mango, peach, pear, nectarine, optional

1-2 scoops of soy protein powder

1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

Smooth in blender and enjoy as a great start to the day

I take this to the office or drink in the car if I am in a hurry. My grandkids love it too. Makes 3-4 servings.

(From Dr. Victor Sierpina)


True Foods Bright Eyes

1 cup of pineapple

1/2 green pear

1 thumb-size knob of ginger

1 thumb-size knob of fresh turmeric

1 cup of beets, gold if available

1 large carrot 

1 small lemon peeled or 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend all ingredients and enjoy.

(From Andy Weil and Michael Stebner of True Foods)

Dr. Victor S. Sierpina is the WD and Laura Nell Nicholson Family Professor of Integrative Medicine and Professor of Family Medicine at UTMB.

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