Supercharge Your Vegan Diet with Juicing and Smoothies

You probably imagine eating mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables daily when envisioning a stereotypical vegan diet. So would vegans benefit that much from juicing and smoothies?

They certainly can! Contrary to popular belief, vegans can also struggle to get enough fruits and vegetables. Including fruits and vegetables in the form of fresh juice and smoothies can be an excellent way for vegans to add variety and up their intake of health-promoting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Depending on the ingredients, smoothies can also help vegans get enough protein, omega-3 fats, and other vitamins and minerals that can be more challenging to get on a plant-based diet.

Let’s discuss the benefits of juicing and smoothies for vegans in more detail below!

What is a vegan diet?

Vegetables on a Table

Vegan diets are centered around the avoidance of all animal-based foods. This includes meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, animal fats like butter, tallow, or lard, and ingredients like gelatin made from animal bones and skin.

Vegans also avoid processed foods using animal-based ingredients, which can show up in unexpected places. Examples include non-organic white cane sugar in the United States, often filtered through animal bone char, and wine clarified with fining agents like isinglass (made from fish bladder) or egg albumen.

Because vegans avoid all animal-based foods, they default to a 100% plant-based diet. All the following are examples of plant-based foods included in a vegan diet:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains (bread, pasta, brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • Beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, tofu, etc.)
  • Non-dairy milk and yogurt alternatives
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Herbs & spices
  • Coffee & tea
  • Dark chocolate (no dairy)

There are many reasons why people choose to follow a vegan diet. The most common are to prevent mistreatment and exploitation of animals, to benefit the environment, and to improve personal health. Someone may be vegan for one or all of these reasons.

Health benefits of vegan diets

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegan diets have many health benefits. They can meet the nutrient needs of children, adults, pregnant women, athletes, and older adults if meals are well-planned and balanced.

stephanie wells
Stephanie Wells

Dietician’s Advice

Compared to omnivores, vegans are at lower risk for certain diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.

These health benefits likely stem from the fact that plant-based foods are typically high in fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like flavonols and soy isoflavones while low in saturated fat and pro-carcinogenic compounds found in processed and red meat.

Be Wary of Overly Marketed “Vegan” Foods

Of course, the healthfulness of a vegan diet can vary. Nowadays, there’s a vegan version of almost any food you can think of! Plant-based burgers, ice cream, and “chicken” nuggets exist, as well as foods like french fries and potato chips, which are already vegan. While these foods are OK to enjoy occasionally, the greatest health benefits will come from consistently eating various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

How Juicing Benefits Vegans

Juicing Helps Add Antioxidants, Vitamins, & Minerals

Since juicing is done with fruits and vegetables, it easily fits into a vegan diet. Juicing can be an additional source of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for vegans who eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Juicing can be particularly helpful for vegans who struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables every day. Choosing to go vegan doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy fruits and veggies, which means that vegans may even be missing key nutrients in these foods.

Juicing Supplements But Shouldn’t Replace Eating Whole Produce

Some vegans may find it easier to get their produce in by juicing it instead of eating it whole — although it’s always a good idea to keep trying different fruits and vegetables until you find ones that you enjoy eating, as whole fruits and veggies contain fiber that is mostly removed during the juicing process.

Juicing & Iron Absorption

One way juicing can benefit vegans is by improving iron absorption in the small intestine, as long as you’ve included produce rich in vitamin C.

Vitamin C Boosts Iron Absorption

“Consuming a good source of vitamin C along with iron-rich foods significantly helps improve absorption rates

There are two different types of iron: heme iron, found in animal-based foods, and non-heme iron, found in plant-based foods.

The body absorbs non-heme iron less efficiently than heme iron, but consuming a good source of vitamin C along with iron-rich foods significantly helps improve absorption rates. Practically, this means that vegans should include vitamin C-rich foods and beverages (like fresh juice) with meals to optimize their iron status.

The following fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C and are great choices to include when juicing:

  • Guava
  • Strawberries
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Mango
  • Kale

A vitamin C-rich juice with plant-based iron sources like protein powder, white beans, blackstrap molasses, iron-fortified breakfast cereal, tempeh, lentils, tofu, and Swiss chard is a great way to optimize iron absorption.

How to make a nutritious vegan smoothie

green vegan smoothie

As with juicing, smoothies are a great way to improve the nutrient density of your diet. While many smoothie recipes include milk, they can be made vegan using non-dairy milk.

If drinking a smoothie in place of a solid meal, as many people do at breakfast, consider the following tips to create nutritionally balanced smoothies that will help keep you as full as a regular meal.

Choose a nutrient-dense non-dairy milk

oat milk

For most smoothies, the only thing you’ll need to do to organize a recipe is to use non-dairy milk instead of cow’s milk. There are a ton of choices when it comes to non-dairy milk, and some are less nutrient-dense than others.

I recommend choosing a non-dairy milk that provides as many of the same nutrients as cow’s milk as possible. Below are nutritional items to consider as it relates to plant-based milk.

Dietitian’s Tip

Take care in choosing a dairy milk alternative. Some may not have near the protein or other nutrients your body needs.


If possible, choose non-dairy milk with seven or more grams of protein. Protein helps make smoothies more filling and works together with fiber in fruit to slow how quickly the fruit’s natural sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream. Soy milk, pea milk, or options like oat or flax with added pea protein are the best sources.

Calcium & Vitamin D

These nutrients are essential for bone health and immune function and can be more challenging as a vegan, so try to choose non-dairy milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that vegans must get either through fortified foods, supplements, or a combination of the two. Non-dairy milks fortified with vitamin B12 are a great way to help meet your B12 needs and prevent potentially severe neurological damage that can occur when deficient.

Minimal Added Sugars

While a small amount of sugar in a well-balanced diet is safe for most people, added sugars can quickly add up throughout the day. If this is a concern for you, choose unsweetened non-dairy milk.

Add a boost of omega-3s

Smoothies are the perfect vehicle for getting more omega-3 fatty acids! These healthy fats are essential for brain and heart health, are anti-inflammatory, and help make smoothies more filling by slowing down how quickly the body digests them.

3 Types of Omega-3s

There are three types of omega-3s: ALA, found in plant-based foods, and DHA and EPA, found in seafood and algae-based supplements. The body needs all three types. The body can convert ALA into DHA and EPA, but this conversion happens at low levels. For this reason, some experts recommend that vegans get even more ALA each day than omnivores.

Vegan foods rich in omega-3 fats that blend well in smoothies include:

  • Ground flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Non-dairy milk made from flax seeds
  • Include a source of protein

As mentioned before, including a good source of protein in your smoothies will make them more filling and balanced due to protein’s role in helping the body digest food at a more steady pace. Some of the best options for adding plant-based protein to a smoothie are:

  • Protein-rich non-dairy milk such as soy milk, pea milk, or oat milk with added pea protein
  • Protein powder made from peas, soy, hemp seeds, or chia seeds
  • Nut or seed butter like peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter
  • Hemp seeds, which are tiny seeds that have 3 grams of protein per tablespoon!

Vegan Very Berry Protein Smoothie Recipe

Vegan Very Berry Protein Smoothie

Recipe by Stephanie WellsDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes






  • 6 ounces of unsweetened soy milk

  • 1-2 scoops vegan vanilla protein powder (check the serving size on the container and use that amount)

  • 1.5 Tablespoons ground flax seed

  • One medium banana

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries


  • Place all ingredients in the blender.
  • Blend until smooth, pausing to scrape down the blender if you notice any protein powder sticking to the sides. If the smoothie is too thick, add a couple of Tablespoons of water at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Enjoy!

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