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4 Simple Rules For Picking a Green Juice That's Actually Good For You

Here's a good rule of thumb: Once you find a version of a trendy health food at your local gas station, you know that Big Food is involved. And once they're in the picture, things can get weird real fast. This is the point we've reached with green juice.
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Here's a good rule of thumb: Once you find a version of a trendy health food at your local gas station, you know that Big Food is involved. And once they're in the picture, things can get weird real fast.

This is the point we've reached with green juice. Which is maybe a good thing, because it's easier than ever to find and can be less expensive than the made-to-order stuff you get at a juice shop. But there's also a downside, since the mass-produced stuff is more likely to contain crappy ingredients, like added sugar, and/or be less fresh than the kind of green juice served at a local cafe.

Still, that doesn't mean you have to steer clear of every single bottled green juice ever. Just pick ones that meet these criteria, which ensure your drink is loaded with good stuff instead of garbage.

1. Make sure there's no added sugar—or other weird stuff. Before you do anything else, scan the ingredients list for sources of added sugar (like evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, fructose sweetener, or fruit juice concentrate) or other non-vegetable or fruit ingredients. "Basically, if it's not a vegetable or fruit, it shouldn't be there," says registered dietician and Delish Knowledge founder Alex Caspero.

2. Look for more veggies than fruit. If it's really a green juice, the first several ingredients should be vegetables, Caspero says. If most of the ingredients are fruit, it's probably fruit juice with a little bit of kale or spinach concentrate added for color. Still not sure? Check the nutrition facts. If your juice has less than 10g sugar per serving, it's probably got a good ratio of vegetables to fruit.

3. Remember: A bit of fiber is a healthy bonus. If your juice is free of added sugar and is made of mostly vegetables, it's not a deal-breaker if there's no fiber. But if you can find an option with a gram or two of roughage, take it. It'll help your body digest the juice a little bit slower and keep you fuller for longer.

4. Buy cold-pressed when possible. Cold-pressed juices retain more of their nutrients and tend to taste fresher than ones that are processed with heat. But they're also more expensive. If you can swing the higher price tag, definitely go for cold-pressed. But if you can't, it's not the worst thing in the world. "You're absolutely still getting benefits," says Caspero.

Need a few picks to get started? We like Suja Organic Uber Greens, Daily Greens Purity, Evolution Fresh Essential Greens with Lime, Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Green Juice, and Juice Press Mother Earth.

By Marygrace Taylor