Greens. You have heard your whole life that you need more of them. We rarely go a week without being reminded that green is the magically healthy color we should consume whenever possible.
Enter green juice, the magical green beverage that everyone seems to be talking about. And when it comes to buying green juices, you’ve got so many more options than you did a few years ago. But with all of these choices, how do we decide what is best for us? Which ingredients are most important? And, what information will help us make the right decision? Fear not! We are here to provide an easy how-to for choosing your green juice soul mate.
What to Look For In a Green Juice
As you stand in front of your grocer’s cooler, you may find as many as 10 green juice options available. The first thing to decide is: what you are looking for in a green juice. Assuming you want something that’s very healthy, tastes pretty good and will make for a natural pick-me-up, here’s what to look for:
1. Sugars: Look for green juices on the lower end of the total sugars range (we use 12 grams of sugars per 8 oz. serving as a guide post). Generally speaking, a higher sugar content may make a juice more palatable. So if you are new to green juice, a slightly higher sugar content, usually provided through the use of fruit juice, may help you ease into that leafy greens taste. If you’re a green juice maven, there are green juices with less than 7 grams of sugars per 8 oz. serving to meet your needs.
2. Leafy Greens: It’s green juice, so it should have leafy greens on the ingredient list, right? Not necessarily. Read the ingredients, which are listed in order of predominance. If a leafy green doesn’t appear in the first four ingredients, you may be looking at a juice that is more fruit than vegetable, with fewer leafy greens.
3. Other Ingredients: See anything there that doesn’t sound like a fruit or vegetable on the ingredient list? We recommend juices that derive taste and nutrition from ingredients sourced from the ground or a tree.
4. Cold-Pressed: Look for juices that are cold-pressed using High Pressure Processing. This process helps to protect flavor and nutrients and allows for green juices with a vibrant taste that may remind you of the produce itself. Processes that require the application of heat – like pasteurization – may produce a different taste profile.
A Green Juice Recipe to Get You Started
For those of you just beginning to experiment with green juice, see below for a make at home recipe that balances sweetness and that leafy green taste. If you don’t have a juicer, fear not! Check out our Juice Without A Juicer article.
Serves 1 - 2 cups
- ½ a peeled cucumber
- ½ a cored pear
- 1 cup clean spinach
- 1 cup cleaned romaine
- ½ cup clean kale
- ¾ cup coconut water + extra in case you’d like to make your juice thinner
- 2 ice cubes
- 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice
Line a strainer with two layers of cheesecloth, leaving plenty of cloth around the edges. Place the strainer over a mixing bowl or a measuring cup.
Blend all ingredients on high for 90 seconds, adding additional coconut water (or filtered water) if the blend is not liquefying.
As soon as your slurry is the consistency of a thick tomato soup, pour into cheesecloth-lined strainer and let the liquid filter though.
When the juice slows to a trickle, gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze so the remaining juice is pushed through the cheesecloth. Repeat if necessary.
Drink and enjoy!