Food Fight: Battle Bottled Green Smoothie

I blog a lot about booze and other processed beverages, but once in a while I really do try to drink something a bit more healthful, like milk, juice (100 percent) and water (the non-coconut kind).

Smoothies might be more regular members of my healthful drink rotation if they weren't so darn expensive. Even at the grocery store, one is likely to spend at least $3 on a bottled smoothie, which is still pricy considering 1) you're only getting 15 to 20 ounces, and 2) you could easily get an equivalent amount of Vitamin A and C (and much more fiber) by spending half that much on whole fruit.

But sometimes it's preferable to drink your fruits and vegetables -- for example, after a long run, which should make one ferociously hungry but more often leaves the stomach temporarily upset. On one such recent occasion, I swung by the market for some liquid breakfast and emerged with two different emerald smoothies (both $3). Here's my evaluation:

Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness

Quick Facts:

  • 15.2 ounces (two servings), 280 calories.
  • RDA satisfaction: Vitamin A 120 percent, Vitamin C 105 percent, Vitamin B12 30 percent (per serving)
  • Contains apples, kiwis, mangoes, bananas, pineapples, dragon fruit, wheat grass, spirulina, spinach and blue-green algae

This was mildly sweet and definitely did not "taste like grass," as an unnamed member of my house predicted. It had stronger banana flavor than I would have liked, but that's my very personal peeve, and smooth but substantial texture. This was a sippin' smoothie, not something to be guzzled after crossing the finish line.

Naked Juice Green Machine

Quick Facts:

  • 15.2 ounces (two servings), 280 calories.
  • RDA satisfaction: Vitamin A 50 percent, Vitamin C 40 percent, Vitamin B12 25 percent (per serving)
  • Contains apples, bananas, kiwis, mangoes, pineapples, spirulina, chlorella, broccoli, spinach, blue green algae, garlic, barley grass, wheatgrass, ginger and parsley

"No Sugar Added" is the most misleading phrase to describe The Green Machine, which was ironically far sweeter than The Green Goodness. I liked the idea of drinking garlic and parsley (though those flavors were indiscernible), but I was flummoxed that with so many fruits and greens, I wasn't getting more Vitamin A. I found that the lighter consistency combined with the saccharine taste made it particularly unpalatable when you're already a bit dehydrated.

The Winner: Bolthouse Farms for greater health benefits, a more mild flavor, and texture more like, well, a smoothie.

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Joanna O'Leary