Eat your veggies, kids. But for the adults, you can drink them, too.
Greens powders have been popping up all over social media during the pandemic, right after whipped coffee and prebiotic sodas.
Brands like Bloom Nutrition and AG1 are everywhere, transcending TikTok and being mixed into your favorite podcast ads and even on local news stations as the “it” drink mixes to try.
However, the idea of drinking your greens has been around for a while, like juice cleanses and green smoothies for example. Since getting in your daily dose of nutrients has always been a struggle for some, it’s no wonder these methods have been popular throughout the ages.
Is drinking green powders and drinks a healthy way to stay in shape, boost immunity or stay energized? We asked registered dietician Jennifer Maeng everything we could think of when it comes to greens, including the health benefits, risks and more. With her experience as a dietician, author of two nutrition books and the founding of her own private practice specializing in gut health, who better to ask?
Read on for her expert advise and then our review of each of the top brands you can buy right now.
What is greens powder and what are it’s benefits?
So yes, it’s green and in a powder form, but what really is inside of the bottles and jars we’ve seen all over social media?
If you choose a high quality brand, the answer should be servings of leafy greens like kale or spinach, plus other vitamins and minerals that typically come from veggies and fruits. They are then pulverized into powder form and made to be easily dissolved in water for an on-the-go green drink.
“Green powders are having their moment again because of how user friendly they are,” said Maeng. “These green powders usually give the consumer some of the vitamins and minerals that they may not be consuming in their diet. We know that consuming adequate amounts of greens and fruit are associated with a healthier life and reduced morbidity. These powders make it easy to add what an individual may need. They are easy to make and a quick solution for someone who may have a busy schedule.”
So why should you trade in your energy drinks for a tall glass of green? Maeng says that while first and foremost, you should be eating right and maybe even adding a high-quality multivitamin to your diet, but can opt to add in a quality green drink too, or instead of the vitamin.
“[Greens powders] can be considered like an ‘insurance policy’ and help us meet
nutrients we may be lacking in our diet. Most Americans don’t consume the recommended amount of greens and that can leave us susceptible to deficiencies. Green powders contain nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A, C, E, and antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein that can boost our immune systems.,” explained Maeng.
Lastly, a pretty straightforward benefit of these powders can be support for picky eaters who wouldn’t be getting enough fruits and veggies the old fashioned way.
What ingredients should I look for in my greens?
Green ones? Well, actually yes! When looking at the ingredients on a greens powder, they can vary, but many include dark, leafy greens that are a great source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. However, they can also include a plethora of other goodies that you can keep an eye out for when reading the nutrition facts.
“Some green powders may include carrots, blueberries, pomegranate and even goji berries, all which contain their own powerful phytochemicals,” said Maeng. “Phytochemicals are what give a plant its color and studies associate them with improved health. These blends with additional fruits and vegetables help reduce the incidence of diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. If you can, try to buy an organic green powder to avoid any synthetic pesticides or irradiation.”
She also mentions matcha and probiotics as other things to look for in your greens. Matcha, while delicious on it’s own, is a great anti-inflammatory and also provides caffeine without the crash. As for probiotics, those can never hurt, as they make for a happy gut.
What are some warnings to note when drinking greens powders?
All that’s green isn’t gold — that’s how it goes, right?
Kidding aside, when adding a new element to your diet, it’s smart to know what to avoid and how to incorporate it safely. Maeng notes that while greens powders can be great, don’t forget to continue trying to add fresh or frozen fruits and veggies into your diet, too.
“I would still recommend adding frozen or fresh seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables in tandem to get the full nutritional benefits of greens. They contain more fiber than the powdered version and can help with satiety in a more effective way,” added Maeng.
Back to the powders, one thing to avoid?
“Artificial sweeteners!” said Maeng. “As mentioned before, your gut microbiome can benefit from drinking green powders, especially when a probiotic is added. There are studies showing how artificial sweeteners can disrupt healthy bacteria living in our stomach. An unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to poor glucose control, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, sleep issues, and an impaired immune system. Artificial sweeteners may be working against the benefits a green powder may offer.”
Our review of the best greens powders of 2023
1. Bloom Nutrition, $40
If you haven’t seen this all over social media … how?!
Bloom Nutrition was one of the first brands to take over TikTok and Instagram, with it-girls Alix Earle and Xandra Pohl amongst the most popular. If Earle is doing it, I wanted to try it too, and so I ordered both the original flavor and the mango version of their greens.
Looking at the package, I liked that it was user-friendly, with instructions for how to mix on the label. Also looking at the label, key ingredients include four different “blends” — fruit and veggie, antioxidant, digestive and adaptogen. Included under each are powders like carrot, beet root, kale, cranberry, tart cherry, and also stevia for some sweetness.
Speaking of flavor, during my initial taste-test I did indeed taste some of the sweetness, mingling with greens flavor. It did give off some grassy elements, but wasn’t unpleasant to drink, and would be best over ice.
- Easy to use
- Easy to drink over ice
- Very aesthetically pleasing packaging
- You can also get the electric mixer on the site
- Highly viral on social media, should you want to join in
- May be a bit over-hyped
- Note the amount of each ingredient per serving, and the daily value percentage is not included
Athletic Greens, also branded as AG1 is also all over social media, for me popping up on Instagram and Facebook ads. The powder kit came with a 12.7 ounce bag of powder, plus a scoop and a canister for a more aesthetic storage system.
The packaging is easy to read and does indeed include percentages of ingredients and daily value percentages, which is helpful to know. We also made this with just cold water an a mixer, yielding a very dark green color. Ingredients for this mix include vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E, in addition to magnesium, zinc, copper, spirulina, wheat grass, apple, chlorella, barley and more.
I was surprised at the lighter flavor, with the dark green as a misleading element. It tasted very light and refreshing, with a cleaner, fruity taste. I would drink this in the mornings for a good start to my day.
- Resealable bag and canister for storage
- Pretty mild and good taste — sweet and fruity
- Easy to drink just over cold water
- Lots of good ingredients
- Ingredients include daily value percentages and more in-depth information
- Needs to be mixed very well and drank quickly to avoid separation
- Higher price point, at $79+
We’re back again, Sakara! After trying their meal kit, I also wanted to try their greens, so here you go.
We tried their Proteins + Greens Super Powder, which starts at $45 for 10 single-serve pouches, which were easy to use since there is no need for a scooper. I loved that for on-the-go greens, and each pouch contains 12 grams of plant protein. Ingredients also include pea, hemp seed, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, spirulina, wheatgrass, barley grass and chlorella.
The consistency and look of Sakara was a bit milky and chalkier than expected, making a light matcha-colored drink despite not containing any milk or dairy and only being mixed with water. It was easy to use, but a thicker to drink, so we think to have this over ice or even blended into a smoothie may be the best, as suggested by the package too.
- Easy to use, with pre-portioned packs to pour into your water
- Good labeling, with daily value percentages and ingredients
- Herbal taste for those that prefer it to a sweeter blend — no artificial sweeteners.
- Thicker and more chalky — best for a smoothie and not for plain water
We mean it — you are super.
I actually tried this brand earlier during our juice cleanse trials, loving the golden turmeric latte the best. I saved the Gut Feeling green powder for this review, so here we go.
The canister is super cute, with an easy to open and re-seal lid and readable ingredients — in fact, there are only six ingredients total! The mix includes celery, Jerusalem artichoke, lemon, apple, lemon balm and ginger to be exact, and is only 15 calories per serving.
Like the other greens, we added this to plain cold water and gave it a mix — note, you may need to mix a lot and then drink quick before it separates. I thought this one was the most floral of the bunch, with fruity notes as well that made it pleasant to drink. I would have loved this over ice, but for a quick drink in the morning, I did indeed think it was super.
- Great packaging
- Only six ingredients, and nothing artificial
- Good price point for the amount you get
- Easy to drink, with a floral and fruity taste
- It does separate easily, so best to drink right after mixing.
Get all your greens in an on-the-go format.
8Greens excited us, as they offer their greens in a powder stick form as well as in a dissolvable tablet. For consistency in this article, we tried the powder, but I’m very hopeful for the tablets now after this trial.
To start with ingredients, each powder stick is 5.5 grams and contains vitamins B5, B6, B12, C, Zinc, spinach, aloe vera, wheatgrass, kale, barley grass, blue green algae, spirulina and chlorella — counting eight greens, alluding to the brand name.
I chose the cucumber watermelon flavor and to my surprise, it tasted just like those flavors. I really could have been duped to believe this was a sugary drink mix, but I also do need to note that it does contain stevia as a sweetener.
- Easy to use in pre-portioned packs
- Very delicious to drink — sweet, fresh and light
- Only needs water, no chalky taste or texture
- Eight key greens, plus other vitamins included and packaging reflects daily value percentage and more details
- Stevia may not be right for everyone
As for the last brand on our list, it’s anything but ho-hum.
HUM Nutrition is known for their gummies, but we wanted to try their Raw Beauty Green Superfood Powder, too. I was initially super surprised when I read that the flavor was mint chocolate chip, as most of the other brands were herbal or fruity.
This powder contains ingredients for both beauty and digestion, with seven different powder blends similar to how Bloom is broken down — Green Superfood, Fiber, 5 Billion Probiotic, Fruit and Vegetable, Antioxidant, Adaptogen and Digestive Enzyme. Each of these blends have their own ingredients, from barley grass and alfalfa to flax seeds, kale, spinach, acai, ginseng and more.
The flavor is the coolest part, as I really did taste the mint and the chocolate, but not in an overwhelming way. It was a nice break from traditional flavors, and even though I mixed with just water, it was a bit creamy. Next time, I may mix with milk or even into a smoothie for a dessert.
- Great packaging, tons of ingredients to note with percentage and daily value included
- Unique but fun mint chocolate chip flavor
- A bit richer and very tasty in both water and in a smoothie or milk
- Also includes probiotics and digestive enzymes
- The dessert flavor may be too crazy for some wanting a fruit or veggie flavor
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