I normally try to avoid extra calories in drinks, but Naked Juice's Berry Veggie Machine and Orange Carrot smoothies are so rich in nutrients (and taste), that I may have to change my mind.
The product: Naked Juice Berry Veggie Machine and Orange Carrot smoothies ($3.29 for a 15.2-ounce bottle; available in grocery stores nationwide)
The taste factor: Absolutely delicious. The combination of fruits and vegetables left an invigorating flavor that tasted fresh and packed with sweetness. After reading the back of the labels, I was skeptical (carrots, bananas, and oranges—together?) but both drinks blended the flavors together perfectly. The drink has a slightly thicker texture than fruit juice, and drinking half of the bottle (one serving) got me through my morning meetings without grabbing an extra cup of coffee or a granola bar.
The health factor: The Berry Veggie Machine contains cherry, sweet potato, strawberry, plum, sweet corn, apple, and chickpea purees, plus purple carrot, red beet, and lemon juice. The Orange Carrot contains carrot, apple, orange, and lemon juice, as well as mango, apple, and banana purees. Because they're so stocked with fruits and veggies, both are great sources of vitamins C and A.
One 8-ounce serving contains 120–130 calories and no fat, which is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up when you're tempted to get a soda. And because the Berry Veggie Machine contains chickpeas, you gain an added boost of protein.
However, what impressed me most was the lack of artificial flavors. Though these drinks do contain a good amount of natural sugar, you're not getting high fructose corn syrup, honey, or any added sweeteners. But the combination of fruit is so delicious, you won't miss them.
Editors' pick: I prefer the Berry Veggie Machine's slightly tart flavors, while our other assistant editor was an advocate of the Orange Carrot. It probably depends most on your food preference.
Why we love it: Sometimes it's really hard to sneak extra servings of fruits and veggies into your hectic lifestyle. Not everyone can carry a mango or sweet potato around in her purse! You won't get as much fiber (a lot of fiber is in the skin), but they add to your intake of vitamins and minerals. And though they're not calorie-free, they're a smart sip as an afternoon or mid-morning snack.