Clean Machine: 5 Things to Know About Drinking Green JuiceEvery morning, Monday through Friday, I try to stick to a pretty healthy routine. Not only do I feel better when I have a consistent schedule, but I’m also more productive and have more “me” time at the end of the day. I like to wake up, make breakfast, work out, and drink a big glass of green juice before getting down to work for the rest of the day. Drinking my greens is one of the best parts of my mornings, and I try to do it every day to get a big boost of vitamins and nutrients. But only recently did I learn that there are a few facts every girl should know when it comes to sipping those greens

With a little help from our expert nutritionist Shira Lenchewski, RD, today I’ll be sharing my smart girl’s guide to drinking green juice. Take a peek below to find out everything you need to know about getting juiced…

1. Don’t consider it a meal replacement.
Proportionally speaking, most green juices are very low in calories and protein, with the majority of calories coming from carbohydrates, according to Shira. So, while drinking green juice can be an excellent way to increase your daily servings of vegetables, most juices aren’t sufficient to be full-blown meal replacements. Try thinking of green juice as a health supplement—like a multivitamin—not a meal replacement.

2. Vary your leafy greens.
Rotating your greens is a great way to make sure you’re reaping the nutritional benefits of a wide variety of plants that you might otherwise miss out on, says Shira. I love switching off between kale, spinach, and romaine. But you can also mix things up by experimenting with dandelion greens, which are rich in calcium, and carrot tops, which are loaded with anti-inflammatory chlorophyll.

3. Don’t use too many sugary fruits.
Just like eating too many sweets can send your body into a blood sugar tailspin, drinking juices with too many sugary fruits can leave you with energy highs and lows. Shira advises her clients to stick to green juices made primarily with leafy greens and just one serving of fruit, like one small pear. Many commercial green juices are loaded with sugar, and they often contain more fruit than we should be consuming in one sitting.  And since the juicing process removes fiber from fruits and veggies, sugar hits the bloodstream faster. On that note, be on the lookout for common sugar-containing additives like coconut water and agave. Simply put: Try to drink juices that are as veggie-heavy as possible.

4. Don’t wait too long to drink it.
Drinking green juice immediately gives you the biggest nutrient bang for your buck, since the natural enzymes in fruits and vegetables start breaking down as soon as they are exposed to air. Shira recommends drinking your green juice straight out of the juicer for those fresh squeezed vitamins and minerals. However, most juices can be refrigerated up to 72 hours in airtight containers. So if you can’t drink yours right away, try to sip up within three days, or else your juice might not be as beneficial.

5. Drink it on an empty stomach.
I prefer to drink my green juice on an empty stomach—after I’ve worked out in the morning—because I like the idea of the nutrients going straight to my digestive tract (I make sure to eat plenty of protein about 20 minutes later). Drinking fresh fruit and veggie juice is the fastest way to allow your body to absorb all those vitamins and minerals—even faster than eating the fruits and veggies whole. So, drinking a green juice after eating a big meal will only slow down the process of those nutrients entering your system. My rule is: If you’ve eaten a big meal, allow yourself two hours to digest before drinking green juice. If you’ve just drank a juice, allow yourself 20 minutes before eating a big meal. Simple as that.

I hope you all enjoyed learning something new about drinking your favorite green juice (I sure did!). Another big thanks to Shira for sharing her expert tips.

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Team LC

sources: shira lenchewski, rd
photos: Allison Norton for