Who can deny the pleasure from sipping on juice? Even picky eaters find juice to be fruit and vegetables in their most tolerable form–mostly water, sugar and micronutrients (vitamin C and A, some B-vitamins like folate, phytochemicals and antioxidants). Whether you’re drinking juice for a cleanse or simply for enjoyment here are some thoughts to help you get the most from your juice:
Not all juices are created equal. If you’re making your own juice then, for fiber’s sake, we recommend “whole juice” over “extracted juice.”
- Whole juice is made by powerful blenders that puree the fiber rich pulp for a thick-textured drink. It preserves the fiber plus nutrients that hold onto the pulp. Whole juice can be unpalatably thick, but you can mix in a little extracted juice or water to improve the taste.
- Extracted juice is made by extracting the water, sugar and water-soluble micronutrients from fruit and vegetables and removing the fiber rich pulp. Most juices sold at the grocery store or through a juice cleanse program are extracted juice. While it tastes better, extracted juice will spike your blood sugar more than whole juice due to its low fiber content.
Limit your cleansing cycle. While we don’t recommend juice cleansing as a method for sustainable weight loss, we understand its allure especially to those of us that love juice. If you choose to juice cleanse try to limit your cleanse to a few days to a week at most. Learn more about the perks and pitfalls of juice cleanses by clicking here.
Pair your juice with solid food. Your blood sugar will spike less if you enjoy juice in moderation (about 4 fluid ounces per serving) and pair it with solid food. If you are drinking extracted juice, try pairing it with lean protein and whole grain foods.
Pick smoothies whenever possible. A healthier alternative to juice is not a juice at all–it’s a smoothie. Smoothies are typically better than juice because they’re made by blending whole fruit and vegetables (skin, pulp, seeds and all) which preserves the most fiber and nutrients. Unlike juice, most smoothie recipes incorporate nut butters, milk, yogurt and other ingredients that add protein and fat. The combination of protein, fat and fiber creates a more filling, nutrient dense beverage. Here are some ideas to power up smoothies with fat, protein and texture:
- Reduced fat milk
- Greek yogurt
- Milk alternative (coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk)
- Nut butters (peanut, almond butter, cashew)
- Seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds)
Make your juice veggie-heavy. By nature, most veggies contain less sugar than fruits yet pack equivalent amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals. In fact, dark leafy greens can be a good source of calcium, a mineral that’s hard to find in fruit. Make veggie-heavy juices and add only as much fruit as needed for a little bit of sweetness.
What do you do to juice healthfully? Share your thoughts in the comments below.