An expert guide to ordering at juice bars

Courtesy of a Mother Juice cofounder and a local dietitian.

–Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

–Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

By Cassie Shortsleeve September 26, 2016

Despite the fact that juice bars are all over Boston—JUGOS outside the Back Bay Station, Liquiteria in the heart of Harvard Square, Juice Press inside Equinox—it’s easy to assume the drink is for someone else: as in, health nuts, yogis, or dietitians.

But on Friday, after success in both Kendall Square and the Boston Public Market, Mother Juice opened at 291 Newbury St., bringing juice front and center to one of the city’s most stroll-able streets. Perhaps it’s time you gave juicing a shot?

We’ve got your guide to the perfect juice order, too, courtesy of Laura Baldini, cofounder of Mother Juice, and Lena Rakijian, R.D., founder of Boston-based [Backbeet Nutrition].

Start easy

New to juicing? Baldini said that pineapple can make jumping into the trend a bit easier—and make the juice a little more palatable. “It softens it up,” she said. Try Mother Juice’s Unicorn Blood: beet, carrot, celery, watermelon, and pineapple.

Then go green

Juices often get a bad rep of being super sugary. If you’re worried about the sweet stuff, use this rule of thumb when ordering: “Vegetable-based juices tend to be lower in sugar than fruit-based juices,” Rakijian said. Think kale, spinach, parsley, chard, or cucumber. Another perk of the vegetable variety: “I find, personally, the green ones give me the most energy and work to keep me full,” Baldini said.

Consider vitamin C-rich add-ons

If your juice is packed with green, think about tossing in some lemon, Rakijian said. “Leafy greens contain iron; however, plant-based, or ‘non-heme,’ iron sources are not as easily absorbed,” she said. “Vitamin C-rich foods, like lemon, boost flavor and increase iron absorption when consumed with non-heme iron sources like leafy greens.”

Don’t write off seemingly strange ingredients

See something like sweet potatoes in a juice-in-question? Don’t be so quick to skip over it. “It always confuses me that sweet potato in juices is actually good,” Baldini said, “but it is!” Try it in Mother Juice’s Sweet Chard ‘O’ Mine, which is packed with sweet potato, green apple, chard, spinach, ginger, and cinnamon.

If you go cold-pressed, read the expiration label

To make a cold-pressed juice, fruits and vegetables are ground into a pulp and the water is squeezed out; you avoid the heat and oxygen that other techniques like fast-moving blades create. Studies suggest this can result in a product with more vitamins and minerals. The jury is still out on whether or not that translates to a healthier you. After all, everyone absorbs nutrients differently, and compounds from different fruits and vegetables all interact with your body differently. Either way, fans of the cold-style beverage say that its taste reigns over drinks made with heat.

That said, because cold-pressed juices aren’t pasteurized (or made with heat), they have a short shelf life of three days, Rakijian said. So before you buy, double-check the label—and when in doubt, choose the most recently pressed juice, she said.

Skip the detoxes

Juice is an easy, on-the-go snack to keep you fueled in between meals or before a workout, Rakijian said. The point here: It shouldn’t be your whole day, every day. Instead, incorporate your favorite blends into a diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, legumes, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and plant-based fats. Juice cleanses don’t contain nearly enough macronutrients to sustain your energy levels—especially if you’re working out, Rakijian said. “Your liver and kidneys are your detoxifying organs,” she said. They’ll do that work for you.

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