What’s the easiest way to pack a ton of fruits and vegetables in one meal?
No, not 5 plates of salad or an entire pan of roasted veggies.
A green juice!
We’ve all seen them… they’re those bright green, red or orange drinks being distributed on every street corner.
Let’s be clear… I’m not talking about Gatorade or soda, I’m talking about the healthiest drink you can image.
Pure juice from fruit and vegetables.
With good reason, these juices have become extremely popular.
If you can get past the color, they’re sweet, refreshing and jam packed with nutrients.
Check out our mean green juice recipes below. They might just turn you into a veggie lover!
We’ll also talk about the benefits of juicing, and differences between consuming juice and eating whole fruit/vegetables. Use the table of contents below to quickly browse through the article:
5 Mean Green Juice Recipes
I recently purchased a juicer.
My decision to make this rather large investment was driven by the fact that I was spending about $9-12 on juice a day.
I am so thankful I did!
Having my own juicer has motivated me to juice every morning, use all my vegetables and get creative with new recipes.
In addition, when you juice at home, you get a bowl full of pulp.
Some people throw this away, but why? That discussion below.
Benefits of Juicing
Where do I begin? Obviously juicing allows you to consume large quantities of raw fruit and vegetables; few would disagree that there are countless physical and mental benefits! (read more about the benefits of eating fruits & veggies here)
Aside from this, there are many other benefits to juicing!
Here are a few reasons why we feel every healthy home (or unhealthy home!) should start juicing…
Helps You Eat More Fruit & Vegetables!
If you’re not a huge fan of fruit and vegetables, juicing is a great way to get these much needed nutrients into your diet.
It’s easy and far less painful than working your way through a huge salad.
Even if you like fruits and vegetables, juicing can take a large bowl of ingredients and condense them into one glass, making it much easier to consume large quantities of produce.
Consuming Fruit/Vegetables We Wouldn’t Normally
Juicing makes it much easier for us to eat the fruit and vegetables we all hate.
The bitter ones that are so good for you. You know the ones that taste so nasty, no amount of dressing can make them palatable.
Instead of eliminating these from your diet, just add them to your next juice! Toss it and a piece of piece of fruit into the blender and presto it’s yummy!
Ok… this may sound gross to some of you, but veggie pulp is one of my favorite kitchen staples.
This is the pulp extracted from the fruit and vegetables by your juicer.
Some people choose to throw this away, but I would never!
It’s full of healthy fibers that fill you up and keep you full longer.
It’s also a great base for creating some of the tastiest vegetarian/vegan meals (veggie cracker, burgers and meatballs).
Drinking Juice vs. Eating Whole Fruits & Vegetables
Yes, consuming fruits and vegetables supplies your body with much needed nutrients, whether you’re juicing or eating them whole.
However, many articles have claimed that juicing enables your body to process the nutrients in your food quicker and more efficiently.
Little research has been conducted on juicing’s health benefits and whether or not it’s actually better for your body.
It’s important to pull from accurate sources when trying to understand its benefits…
“Some advocates for juicing may claim that your body absorbs more nutrients from juices than the whole fruit because the fruit’s fiber gets in the way. However, there isn’t much research out there that supports that claim. Your digestive system is designed to handle fiber and extract nutrients from a variety of foods. Plus, fiber is important for digestive function and has a multitude of health benefits” (source).
Here are some additional concerns about juicing when compared to eating whole fruit and vegetables:
1. A fresh juice can taste absolutely incredible, especially with a lot of added fruit. However adding too much fruit, or the wrong fruits, can quickly lead to weight gain.
It’s important to add the fruits that are lower in sugar and higher in nutrients. Learn more about the healthy fruits to add to your juice in our Clean Eating Grocery List.
2. Along the same lines as the statement above, juicing allows lots of fruits and veggies to condense into one cup.
This is great as it is high in nutrients (if you use the right ingredients) however if you are using primarily fruit it can be extremely high in sugar!
3. Juicing extracts the pulp from the fruit/vegetable. This can be a problem for those relying on a juice to fill them up and keep them satiated, as the bulk is gone.
If you see this as a problem, try making a green smoothie with a high speed blender instead! Green smoothies use the entire fruit or vegetable and grind them into liquid form, utilizing both the fiber and juice.
To be honest I make smoothies more often than juices. I feel the fiber helps me to get through the day and I love the texture, thanks to my incredible Blendtec!
We promise, juicing is really easy and self explanatory.
There are however a few things you should know before getting started!
- It’s best to drink your fresh squeezed juice right away to prevent the development of bacteria.
- Although fruit tastes amazing, vegetables are far healthier ingredients to juice, as they are lower sugar and calories. I tend to use 80% vegetables and 20% fruit for the calories and the health benefits. Making sure to stick with fruits that have a low sugar content (berries, apple, grapefruit, etc)!
- To increase the amount of juice you make, use vegetables like celery and cucumbers that have high water content.
- When consuming juice, you’re eating large quantities of fruit and vegetables in raw form. Therefore it’s essential that you wash the produce well.
- Juicing is a messy job. In order to minimize the mess I line the pulp container with a baggy. This way, once you’re done juicing, all you have to do is toss the baggie in the fridge! If you’re not big on veggie pulp, toss it into your compost.
- Cut your veggies right before you juice. This keeps the ingredients fresh with minimal loss of nutrients and exposure to bacteria.
- If the pulp is still moist after it passed through the machine, run it through again, there is still some juice in there!
Green Juice Recipes
Below are some of my favorite green juice recipes.
Feel free to take out or add whatever ingredients you’d like. BTW this is a great way to use what you have in your fridge and get creative!
Almost the Original Mean Green Juice
Even if you haven’t seen the movie “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”, you’ve heard of it. You’ve also heard of his “Mean Green Juice”.
The author swears by his juice recipe for general health and well being, so I had to try it!
It’s a great basic juice. Doesn’t contain too much fruit (i.e. fructose) and the veggies are pretty mild (nothing that gives you a sour face).
I did however add cilantro because I love the taste. Up to you if you would like to keep it in there!
- 1 cucumbers
- 4 celery rib
- 2 apples
- 6-8 large kale leaves
- 1/2 lemon
- 1″ piece of ginger
- 1/4 cup of cilantro (optional)
Wash all of the ingredients well. Separate the cilantro leaves from the stems, toss the stems. Peel the lemon and toss the peel. Core the apples, toss the seeds. Add all ingredients into the juicer and enjoy!
Grapefruit & Mint Green Juice
- 2 cucumbers
- 5-6 sprigs of basil
- 5-6 sprigs of mint
- 2 grapefruits
- 1 lemon
Wash all of the ingredients well. Separate the basil and mint leaves from the stems, toss the stems. Peel the lemon and grapefruit – toss the peels. Add all the ingredients into juicer and enjoy!
Cucumber & Basil Green Juice
- 1 cup of basil
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 lime
- 1 apple
Wash all of the ingredients well. Separate the basil leaves from the stems, toss the stems. Peel the lime and toss the peel. Core the apple and toss the seeds. Add all ingredients into juicer and enjoy!
Carrot & Ginger “Green” Juice
- 1 carrot
- 4 celery sticks
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1″ piece of ginger
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 1/2 cup spinach
Wash all of the ingredients well. Separate the cilantro leaves from the stems, toss the stems. Peel the lemon and toss the peel. Cut off the top of the carrot and toss. Add all the ingredients into juicer and enjoy!
Orange & Spinach Green Juice
- 1 1/2 cup of spinach
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 lemons
- 1 lime
- 2 oranges
- 1/2″ piece of ginger
Wash all of the ingredients well. Peel the lime, lemons and oranges and toss their peels. Add all ingredients into juicer and enjoy!
We hope after reading this article and all of the mean green juice recipes you’ll get hooked on juicing like we are!
Let us know your favorite ingredients and or juice recipes in the comments.