When it comes to green beverages, you might think of a soothing cup of matcha tea or even a sugar-packed Shamrock shake. But a different kind of green drink is suddenly everywhere — vitamin-packed health blends made from greens powders that promise to provide you with your veggies for the day, without having to eat a single bite of broccoli.
“Since the onset of COVID, people are becoming more aware of their health and looking for different ways to improve their diet,” says Amy K. Fischer, RDN, a dietitian with the Good Housekeeping Institute, who says social media and celebrity endorsements are also driving the greens-powder trend.
Before you mix up a Kermit-colored smoothie, keep in mind that the best way to get the nutrients you need is by eating a variety of foods in their natural — not powdered — form. “Whole vegetables contain fiber and water, which can help keep you feel fuller longer, aid in digestion and helps to build better gut bacteria — and you can see what you are eating, so there’s no guesswork involved,” Fischer says.
However, the CDC reports that just 9% of American adults get the recommended 1.5 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables each day. So if you’re the type of person who is just never going to bring yourself to eat a kale salad or a side of Brussels sprouts, greens powders can be a decent substitute, Fischer says.
Note that almost all the greens powders start with a blend of spirulina and chlorella (two nutrient-packed types of algae), plus antioxidant-rich wheatgrass; after that, they may include anything from a handful of others greens to hundreds more ingredients, including probiotics, adaptogens and traditional Chinese herbs.
Here, 11 of the best greens powders to try:
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Best Overall Greens Powder
You can spend a fortune on greens powders, which is one of the reasons we like this moderately-priced mix that has many of the same certified-organic, non-GMO ingredients as the pricier brands, including the ubiquitous spirulina, chorella and wheatgrass, plus green tea leaf, carrot, acai, pineapple extract and probiotics.
- Some say it can taste “grassy”
Best Greens Powder for Athletes
One of the most well-known and popular powders, AG1 is NSF-certified, so you know every one of the 75 ingredients, including pea protein isolate, burdock root powder and pre-and probiotics, has been tested. It’s pricey — but you can save on a monthly subscription.
- Maintains the highest testing and manufacturing standards
Best Raw Blend Greens Powder
Perfect Food Super Greens Formula Powder
Fischer is a fan of this blend, which claims to contain “40 nutrient-dense raw, organic greens, sprouts, fruits and veggies.” It also includes pre-and probiotics, and is free from any artificial flavors or sweeteners including stevia. It’s available in a variety of flavors.
- Certified USDA organic
- Non-GMO project verified
- Some say it can taste “earthy” and “grassy”
Best Greens Powder with a Simple Formula
Super Green Juice Powder
If you just want greens and nothing else, this blend contains just 6 ingredients: wheatgrass. barley grass, moringa, baobab, spirulina and chlorella. We appreciate that it tells you right on the label where each ingredient is sourced, and it doesn’t contain any sweeteners or extra flavors. You can imbibe it as a smoothie (add banana and almond butter to sweeten it up) or in a grassy-green shot.
- Certified USDA organic
- Other than vitamin A, doesn’t have high nutrient counts
Best Greens Powder With Probiotics
Green Vibrance Vegan Superfood Powder
This probiotic-packed powder has a mix of 6 different types of grass, plus one of the longest lists of ingredients we’ve seen. It also packs in trendy adaptogens, lichen powder for vegan-friendly vitamin D3, burdock root for liver support, and 2 g fiber.
- Rich in vitamins A, D and E
- An endless list of ingredients
Best Greens Powder for on the go
Vegan Super Greens Powder & Multi Vitamins Supplements
Like the name says, there are 8 different greens included in this fizzy blend, which comes in single-use packs: spinach, kale, aloe vera, wheatgrass, blue green algae, barley grass, chlorella and spirulina. If you’re looking for something that tastes a little less, well, grassy, 8Greens comes in pomegranate and basil, and cucumber and watermelon flavors. “I think this is very drinkable, especially for people who don’t like greens,” says Fischer.
- Added flavors help it go down easy, but are probably not for purists
Best Flavored Greens Powder
Organic Super Greens
This blend includes intriguing ingredients such as oat grass, goji berry, turmeric root, reishi, chia seed and matcha. We liked the watermelon blend, which give a refreshing hint of flavor without being too sweet.
- Third-party certified organic
- Containers are BPA-free
- Package does not contain DV of vitamins
Best Greens Powder for Blending
Flavored like green tea, with sweetness provided by stevia, this blend includes ingredients such as green tea extract, broccoli, tomato, apple and the antioxidant quercetin.
- Manufactured in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) compliant facility
- The flavor from stevia is a little bit on the sweet side
- Some say it can taste chalky
Best Greens Powder Traditional Herbs
With rave reviews on Amazon, this powder includes the usual organic, non-GMO greens, grains and fruits, plus a variety of traditional Chinese herbs such as reishi, astragalus root and white peony root. The company has been making superfood mixes since the 1970s.
- USDA certified organic vegan
- Rich in vitamin A
- Some say it can taste “bitter” and “grassy”
Best Basic Greens Powder
Marine Super Greens Blend
You can’t get more streamlined than this mix, which is a simple blend of kelp, chorella and spirulina — all independently tested for heavy metal and are certified organic by the USDA. A good price for just the basics.
- USDA certified organic
- 100% recyclable BPA-free reusable container
- Some report a strong smell and “seaweed” flavor
Best Greens Powder for Energy
Clean Energy Greens
Looking for an energy boost with your greens? This super-green blend, manufactured in an FDA-audited facility, includes yerba mate and matcha for a little extra kick, plus added fiber, digestive enzymes and probiotics. The sweetness comes from a dash of monk fruit extract.
- No artificial ingredients, coloring or sweeteners
- Can be hard to dissolve for some, although it contains many organic ingredients, its not certified organic
How to Choose the Best Greens Powder
When picking a green powder, follow these tips from Fischer:
• Read the label for real ingredients, rather than fillers or synthetics, and avoid products with added sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
• Go for organic and non-GMO ingredients. “These powders are expensive, so you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck,” says Fischer.
• Look for a third-party testing certification from NSF or USP: “Greens powders, along with most supplements, are not tested by the FDA, and a big concern with powdered supplements is heavy metal contamination,” Fischer explains. “Third-party testing can help to determine if the product contains these.”
• Mix the powder with a fat source to aid absorption: Greens powders contain a lot of fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, E, and K. “You can do this by adding the powder to a smoothie that contains flax seeds or chia seeds, or mix it with a nut or oat milk that contains fat,” Fischer suggests.
Green Powder Benefits
While it would be ideal to get your nutrients from a well-balanced diet including whole fruits and vegetables, greens powders can fill in the gaps when you can’t get your daily fill, says Fischer. Some of the benefits include:
- Convenience: Powders are a fast and easy way to get your greens when you’re traveling or at other times when healthy options are limited, Fischer says. It’s also easy to add a scoop to a morning smoothie for a healthy breakfast on the go.
- You get a huge variety of potent greens: Even if you love your broccoli and kale, it’s not likely you’d snack on the most potent greens in these powders: Recent research has shown that spirulina supplements can help lower blood lipids. For vegans and vegetarians, chlorella can provide vitamins D2 and B12, which are tough to get from other plant-based foods, and wheatgrass and other grasses contain high levels of chlorophyll, which contains valuable antioxidants that may reduce inflammation.
- Versatility: There’s a greens powder for almost every health concern you have, including ones with probiotics, which can promote healthy digestion, adaptogens, which are said to reduce stress and tea extracts, to boost energy.
Why Trust Good Housekeeping
Amy Fischer is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a B.A. in journalism from Miami University of Ohio and an M.S. in clinical nutrition from New York University. Prior to working at Good Housekeeping, she worked at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City as a cardiac transplant dietitian. She has authored numerous chapters in clinical nutrition textbooks and has also worked in PR and marketing for food company start-ups.
Marisa Cohen is a contributing editor in the Hearst Lifestyle Group’s Health Newsroom, who has covered health, nutrition, mental health, parenting and the arts for dozens of magazines and web sites over the past two decades.
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