While some of us marvel at the sight of a multi-colored salad, not everyone loves to chomp down on vegetables at every meal. Supplements shouldn't replace whole foods, but if you're having a hard time getting enough veggies, greens powder supplements may be the trick to getting all your nutrients.
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Made of dehydrated vegetables and fruits, greens powders are supplements that provide your daily recommended serving of vegetables in a convenient powder form. But just as there are seemingly infinite protein powder supplements on the market, there's a greens powder for just about everything.
Here are the best greens powders dietitians recommend.
While most greens powders have similar nutritional labels, keep your eye on the ingredient list if you have any allergy concerns.
1. Best Overall: Amazing Grass Greens Blend
Amazing Grass Green Superfood is one of the most highly reviewed Greens powders on Amazon.com, with more than 15,000 five-star reviews. One scoop of the original flavor delivers two full servings of produce — including organic wheatgrass, spirulina, cherry and pineapple — as well as 3 grams of fiber for digestive health.
The powder also includes digestive enzymes and probiotics to help your body digest those greens. There's also no added sugar here, and it's gluten-free.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $41.24 for 60 servings ($0.69 per serving)
2. Best Low-Sugar Greens Powder: AG1
Athletic Greens' supplement has less than 1 gram of sugar per serving with no artificial sweeteners or added sugar. This powder also provides more than your daily recommended intake of vitamins A, C and E.
Each serving has 60 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein (from pea protein isolate), and it's also clad with probiotics and digestive enzymes. Plus, if you have dietary restrictions, know that this non-GMO product is free of gluten, dairy, corn, egg and peanuts.
Buy it: Athleticgreens.com; Price: $99 for 30 servings ($3.30 per serving)
3. Best for Gut Health: Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
If you're looking to get your probiotics and greens in one beverage, dietitian Shena Jaramillo, RD, recommends Vibrant Health's Green Vibrance supplement. With 25 billion probiotics per scoop and 2 grams of fiber per serving, this brand is a go-to for healthy digestion, she says.
"This can be a great option for many wanting to improve their digestive health," Jaramillo says. "It is also gluten-free and doesn't contain artificial sweeteners. It also has a higher fiber content (2 grams) than some of the competitor products."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $79.08 for 60 servings ($1.32 per serving)
4. Best for Travel: 8Greens Effervescent Super Greens
Travel can make it especially difficult to get all your nutrients from whole foods. After all, healthy fast food is hard to come by (although you won't become deficient in essential nutrients overnight). 8Greens' Effervescent Super Greens come in tablet form and are easy to carry in your bag and drop into a bottle of water.
Made of eight types of greens, one 8Greens tablet will provide you with more than 100 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamins C, B6, B12 and B5.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $15.99 for 10 servings ($1.60 per serving)
5. Best High-Protein Greens Powder: Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein & Greens
If you don't want to sip your protein and greens separately, get both in one drink with Garden of Life's Raw Organic Protein & Greens. One serving of this supplement provides 20 grams of plant-based protein (from peas and brown rice), which is about as much as a standard scoop of whey.
Although this option contains less than a gram of sugar, it's sweetened with stevia leaf, so be cautious if you have any allergies or sensitivities.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $33.59 for 20 servings ($1.68 per serving)
6. Best for Immunity: Nested Naturals Super Greens
Finding a greens powder that meets a wide variety of food needs, preferences and intolerances can be difficult. This one impresses because it's vegan-friendly, non-GMO, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free and more. It's also low in calories yet provides fiber and protein. It comes recommended by Andrea Kirkland, RD, a registered dietitian and culinary educator from Birmingham, Alabama.
"This value-priced powder is made with dairy-free probiotics to support gut health and contains zero gluten, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, flavorings or additives," Kirkland says. "Plus, one scoop contains 17 milligrams of vitamin C, which is beneficial for anyone looking for an easy way to support immunity."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $27.95 for 30 servings ($0.93 per serving)
7. Best for Inflammation: Ancient Nutrition Organic SuperGreens
This greens powder is uniquely formulated with sprouted and fermented ingredients, which are known to support digestion and immunity. It's made with green vegetables like broccoli, kale, alfalfa grass, spirulina and chlorella. Each serving provides a variety of micronutrients, including 52 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin A.
"Fermented ginger and turmeric make up this high-quality blend to boost its anti-inflammatory power. Unlike other turmeric-containing competitors, it has black pepper which enhances the absorption of the turmeric," Kirkland says. "Its clean, minty flavor also mixes well into smoothies!"
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $33.56 for 25 servings ($1.34 per serving)
What Is Greens Powder?
Greens powders are powder-based supplements that provide the vitamins and nutrients you'd otherwise get from the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. These supplements are made of dehydrated and ground-up plant ingredients, like grasses, leafy greens, mushrooms and berries, Jaramillo says.
Common greens powder ingredients include:
Greens powders are usually high in vitamins A, C and K, which are all necessary components in your diet. Some products also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which Americans typically don't get enough of, Jaramillo says.
Usually, a serving of greens powder is about a scoop (most products come with their own scooper). You mix the powder into water and chug — much like protein powder. But considering greens powders are made up of a mix of vegetables and grasses, they tend to taste a bit bitter.
Benefits of Greens Powders
Few Americans actually meet the daily fruit and vegetable serving recommendation, which means their diet lacks some important vitamins and minerals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ideally, you should be eating about 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of veggies each day.
Wondering What Makes a Serving?
If you struggle to meet the daily requirement, greens powders can help you hit the mark. Still, they shouldn't replace whole foods in your diet. Consider greens powders an extra "insurance policy," Jaramillo says.
"A healthy, balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, will provide many of the same benefits as using a green powder supplement," she says.
"With the hustle and bustle of the day, it can be easy not to choose the perfect foods at every meal. Even if someone is consuming a healthy diet, green powder can help us obtain nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids that may be consumed less frequently."
What to Look for in Your Greens Powder
Before making a purchase, there are a few factors to look for in your greens powder.
Note Allergies and Intolerances
For starters, always take any allergies or intolerances into consideration. If you have any allergies to fermented foods or certain types of sugar, especially, read the label on your product carefully, Jaramillo says.
Nutrients You Need
Also, consider which nutrients your diet may be lacking, Jaramillo says. Using a food diary or app such as LIVESTRONG.com's MyPlate, monitor your day-to-day eating habits and consider what vitamins and nutrients you need to increase. Then, look for a greens powder that provides at least the daily minimum requirement.
To mask bitterness, some greens powders are also sweetened with sugar substitutes (most commonly stevia). If you're trying to avoid added sugars, look for unsweetened powders. If you're sensitive to caffeine, know that some are made with green tea extract.
To make green powder drinks taste better, Jaramillo recommends adding a squeeze of lemon or mixing the powder into a glass of coconut water or fruit juice. You can also combine your greens with an acai or goji powder to mask the bitter flavor.
If you're feeling creative, stir your greens powder into a salad dressing, soup or your favorite protein ball recipe for some added nutrients.