Natural Juice Cafe
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Address: 2480 Limestone Parkway, Gainesville
Phone number: 678-928-4833 ext. 4
For some smoothie recipes, click here.
Is there anything better than a light, refreshing salad or a sweet, tropical juice on a hot summer day?
Christine Holcomb comes for both. She sometimes picks up some juices for her 92-year-old mother at the Natural Juice Cafe.
“I’m so glad we have (a cafe) like this in Gainesville,” Holcomb said.
Natural Juice Cafe in Gainesville provides both, along with many other options, for its customers for the three years it’s been in business at 2480 Limestone Parkway.
“We sell about 30 percent drinks and 70 percent food,” cafe owner Brett Copeland said.
But this time of year, many people are looking to quench their thirst from the summer sun. And the cafe’s most popular juice is called 50 Shades of Green.
The drink contains ingredients that have natural sodium and magnesium, said Copeland, who owns and operates the cafe with his wife, Jeannie. He explained the smoothie “replenishes electrolytes” and is “great for hydrating” because it is filled with vitamins and minerals that are expelled from your body when you sweat.
“It is important to stay hydrated year-round, but it is absolutely critical to stay hydrated this year, with temps in the 90s,” Copeland said.
Natural Juice’s wheat grass has gained massive popularity since more people became aware of the health benefits in the past three or four years, Copeland said.
“One (wheat grass) drink is equal to a half pound of spinach,” he said.
Both cost $6, as well as any other 16-ounce drink or smoothie in their restaurant.
Nutritionists say smoothies are a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption, but they say to be careful not to add too many extra calories. Ice cream and fruit juices with added sugars should be avoided.
“That is a milkshake,” said Kim Tirapelle, a registered dietitian at Kaiser Permanente Fresno, Calif.
But for those who don’t have time to drop by the cafe for a smoothie, you can make them at home from fresh or frozen foods.
Lifestyle blogger Annie Foreman of Fresno, Calif., has upped her smoothie game by prepping her ingredients and freezing them. When she or her family want something refreshing to drink, all she has to do is pull a prepped plastic bag out of the freezer, blend it with a liquid and pour.
“It takes about five minutes, tops,” says Foreman, author of www.therealhousewifeoffresno.com.
While fresh fruit is great when it’s in season, don’t be shy about using frozen fruits or vegetables. Foreman is fond of buying a bag of frozen mixed berries and a large package of spinach.
She also recommends using overripe fruit that may be too squishy to eat but works fine in a blender for a smoothie.
“I hate throwing away food, and this is a good way to reduce food waste,” she said.
As her liquid base, Foreman uses almond milk or plain yogurt.
Tirapelle agrees one good way to lower the drink’s calorie content is to look for alternatives to whole milk or fruit juice. She says coconut water and skim milk are also good options, as are water or ice. And for added thickness, you can even add a scoop of avocado.
Tirapelle says flax seeds and chia seeds are a good source of protein and fiber, if you want something more than just a snack.
Some new yogurt brands, such as Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt, are loaded with protein, have less sugar and can make a good base for your smoothie.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.