I had a friend ask me recently what juices are good for kids. For busy moms or really anyone on the go, you may want to grab one of the many juices available at the grocery store , since juicing at home is not always feasible or time friendly. These are convenient options for a quick boost during your workday or while you're out running errands. If your kids are hungry or thirsty, there are more choices now than grabbing a juice box or soda, but how healthy and tasty are those drinks compared to others? Are they worth the extra cost, and will your kids turn up their noses at the taste? Kids tend to have more sensitive taste buds than adults so some flavors we find palatable are super strong or bitter to them. Today I'll provide a rundown of the nutrition and taste of juices from Evolution Fresh and Bolthouse Farms. All of these are definitively less thick and smoothie like than say an Odwalla or Naked brand juice, so they appear to stay truer to traditional juicing methodology which is pure liquid.
Lets begin with the 2 from Bolthouse Farms. I chose the Green Goodness and Daily Greens in trying to keep with a balanced fruit and vegetable blend, and up the nutritional value as much as possible (especially if I'm paying 3 dollars a bottle right?).
The Daily Greens boasts 4 1/2 servings of vegetables per bottle, including Kale, Spinach, Romaine, Cucumber, Celery and quite a few other ingredients. What's important here is the various other ingredients. Reading the smaller printed list this also contains, banana puree which is healthy and provides potassium, but makes it lean closer to the smoothie classification. Additionally they add Chicory as a dietary fiber, which again doesn't follow traditional juicing ideals, but is still part of a healthy diet. There are various other added vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc. Vitamins A, B, and C are also supplemented . The most surprising ingredient to me though was Green Tea. It doesn't state if its decaffeinated or if the drink contains caffeine at all, so you can only really guess here. Another not so natural ingredient is xantham gum which helps smooth out the texture and keeps the ingredients from separating. It's often used in gluten free food to help boost the volume but has been noted as a possible irritant to some people's digestive system. Regarding the taste, it was a bit of a surprise actually, until i checked the ingredients again. Green bell pepper juice, including vinegar and salt give this a more savory flavor, rather than a fruity tasting juice. While adults might like this as it's reminiscent of a V-8, some kids may not be fans of the flavor.
Nutritional notes: While it is overall low in calories as most juices are, it has 65 mg of Sodium, 19 grams of sugar, and 23 g total carbohydrates. Also the serving size per bottle is 2, so double that if you drink the whole thing. It's a bit more of a meal/smoothie than a pure juice, but has a refreshing savory taste especially if you are getting sick of too many sweeter tasting juices.
The Green Goodness, also from Bolthouse Farms, contains nearly 4 servings of fruit per bottle. Aside from the expected fruits like apple, mango, pineapple, this also contains some rather interesting ingredients. Spirulina, green tea, some various "normal" greens, garlic, Nova Scotia Dulse, Jerusalem artichoke, and more added vitamins. I admit I had to look up the Nova Scotia Dulse because I had no idea what it was. It's a purple seaweed with a very high potassium content, loads of trace minerals, and oddly a high amount of omegas as well. One other thing to note here is a lot of the greens and the garlic are powdered when added to the juice, so that isn't exactly a traditional juice either; not to say you wouldn't still benefit as much from the powdered form. I honestly couldn't tell you that I tasted any seaweed or garlic, but the larger amounts of ingredients were from the fruits so it had a nice pleasant fruity taste. Very well balanced and not overly sweet for me anyway. The nutrition facts were 140 calories, 30 mg sodium, 420 mg potassium, 30 g sugar, and 33 g total carbs. Again with two servings to the bottle, you'd double those.
Also, any wholesale manufactured juices are required by the FDA to undergo this process, so Juice bars are excluded, and for wholesalers they don't have a choice.
The Super Green from Evolution has only a handful of ingredients as do most of their juices. It contains OJ, mango puree, apple juice, pineapple juice, raspberry puree, spirulina, chlorella, and again dulse, the purple seaweed. Evolution juices do not add extra vitamins to the product so you are just getting what is inherently contained in the ingredients. Spirulina and chorella are both algaes containing lots of amino acids, omegas, vitamins, and purportedly have immunity boosting properties. The Super Green has a sweeter flavor, very similar to the Odwalla Green Machine, but not as thick and pond scummy. I think kids would definitely like this flavor. Serving sizes are listed again as 2 per bottle, and the details are as follows: Calories 130, Sodium 10 mg, Potassium 350 mg, Sugar 27 g, and Total Carbohydrates 28 g.
Evolution's Smooth Greens are similar to something you would probably juice at home. No funky algae or powdered additives in this one. It contains cucumber juice, pineapple juice, spinach juice, romaine lettuce juice, apple juice, kale juice, mango puree, and mint juice. I probably sound like a broken record, but I think cucumber tastes like dirt and grass had a baby, but usually mint saves the day in any juice. Here, I think there is such a small amount of mint that it muddies the waters even more. Instead of a refreshing green delight, its more like dirt and grass with an odd tangy after taste from the mint and pineapple. I say, go Mint or go home. It needs more mint!
Nutrition facts are: Calories 50, Sodium 50 mg, Potassium 480 mg, Sugar 7 g (very good), and total carbs 10 g.
Sweet Greens and Lemon is up next from Evolution, and it has just a few greens in the mix, plus apple and lemon to add some sweetness and zing. Ingredients are juices of celery, apple, cucumber, spinach, romaine, kale, lime, lemon, and parsley. The cucumber and parsley seem to stand out the most in flavor and it has more savory than sweetness to it. The lemon isn't extremely noticeable, but I think it makes the cucumber more tolerable. It's definitely a " green" flavor with a little but of interest from the parsley and lemon. I wouldn't give this a kid friendly rating, but it is more mild than others so it's possible. I think this could go into my rotation to mix it up flavor-wise but I probably wouldn't be craving it. This would be a good drink to may be mix with some of the more sugary drinks to add more greens. Nutrition facts are: Calories 50, sodium 150 mg, potassium 550 mg, sugar 10 g, and total carbs 11g.
Just to mix it up a little I got a not so green juice. Sometimes you're just thirsty and don't want water right? Also i love lime, and ginger is good for stomach issues or nausea. The Ginger Limeade is essentially just that. It has filtered water, organic lime juice, organic cane sugar, and organic ginger juice. This one is tasty. I could totally drink this on a hot summer day, though the lime may twist your tongue a little bit by the end of the bottle. Nutritional Facts are: Calories 120, sodium 5 mg, potassium 65 mg, sugar 30 mg, and total carbs 30 g.
The Green Goodness from Bolthouse Farms and Super Green from Evolution are probably the most kid friendly as far as taste, as they are milder and a bit sweet. If you have a pretty daring kiddo they may like the daily greens. It was a pretty exciting and different flavor with the bell pepper and garlic.
All in all the Bolthouse drinks were cheaper at $1.99 with an 80 cent sale, making the normal price $2.79. The evolution juices were 2.99 with sale discounts ranging from 1.30 to 2 dollars. So the normal prices would be $4.29-4.99. Depending on your goals, the Bolthouse definitely provide the most vitamin bang for your buck, but aren't as ideal for pure juicing or juice fasts due to the additives and powdered ingredients.
I hope you all find this helpful. Please leave any questions or suggestions for future blog posts in the comments.
The Juice Junkie