Taste Test: Green Cold-Pressed Juice
The rising popularity of cold-press juices has brought an influx of bottled products to the market. But is there anything specific you should be looking for when you buy? For starters, it helps to know what "cold-pressed" means: Also known as high pressure processing (HPP), cold-pressing applies very high pressure to raw juice in order to kill any harmful microorganisms that may be present. Once HPP is applied, the juice is placed into a bottle, sealed and refrigerated.
For this taste test, each variety of cold-pressed juice contained at least one green vegetable (be it kale, celery, cucumber or anything else with a verdant tint). We rated the bottled stuff on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest score), assessing each juice for taste, nutrition, serving size and cost. We were also on the lookout for any ingredients that surprisingly jack up the calories. Bottles ranged in size from 10 fluid ounces to 16.
Nutrition Info (per 8 fluid ounce serving): 75 calories; 0 grams total fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 3.5 grams protein; 66 milligrams sodium
The Healthy Eats Take: This take on green juice offers the perfect combination of spinach, orange, kale, watermelon, ginger, pineapple and even parsley. All of the ingredients are organic and the juice carries the Non-GMO Project Verified seal. The calories per serving (which is half of the bottle) can absolutely fit within a healthy diet, and each serving is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese and copper. And for a cold-pressed juice, the price is reasonable.
Nutrition Info (per 10 fluid ounce serving): 100 calories; 0 grams total fat; 26 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0 milligrams sodium
The Healthy Eats Take: Although the BluePrint juice line started out as a cleanse program, the company now offers a wide variety of cold-pressed juice blends that can fit into a healthy eating plan. The 10-fluid-ounce bottle is a modest portion, and the calories are within reasonable limits. The Kale Apple Lemon juice tastes fabulous and is made with some organic ingredients. The blend is also an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 70 percent of the recommended daily amount. It's also a decent source of iron with 10 percent of the daily recommended amount. The cost, however, is the highest among all the juices.
Nutrition Info (per 16 fluid ounce serving): 120 calories; 0 grams total fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 280 milligrams sodium
The Healthy Eats Take: This combination of kale, celery, fennel, lemon, apple, pear, and ginger juices makes for a nutrient-packed drink. But the flavor can be on the bitter side, with a ginger aftertaste. For a 16-fluid-ounce serving, the calories are fairly low. The juice is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6 and K and riboflavin and a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and thiamin. The price tag, however, is on the higher end.
Nutrition Info (per 8 fluid ounce serving): 110 calories; 4 grams total fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 50 milligrams sodium
The Healthy Eats Take: The Evolution Fresh brand is sold in all Starbucks stores and also some health food stores. It has a longer list of organic juice ingredients, but all are pronounceable and from whole foods. Calories are slightly on the higher side, due to higher calorie ingredients such as avocados and coconut juice. But this would only become an issue for someone drinking numerous bottles a day or week. In terms of flavor, the juice is slightly bitter compared with some of the other drinks in the round-up. Additionally, the juice isn't a good or excellent source of any nutrients, except potassium.
Nutrition Info (per 15.2 fluid ounce serving): 100 calories; 0 grams total fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 320 milligrams sodium
The Healthy Eats Take: Kale, spinach, apples, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger make up Trader Joe's green concoction. The flavor -- which is reminiscent of drinking a cup of grass -- leaves much to be desired That said, the calories are relatively low and the juice is an excellent source of vitamin A and calcium. The sodium is the highest of the bunch, by a considerable amount. But to its credit, it was the least expensive of the bunch.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.