We do our best to provide our kids with a well-rounded diet. We are always telling our kids to eat their vegetables. But here’s the thing – as parents, are we eating OUR vegetables? Do we get the USDA recommended four cups of fruits and vegetables per day? I sure don’t and especially during the summertime between road trips, vacations and disorganized summer schedules. Our summer dinner meals seem to consist of pizza, grilled hamburgers or hot dogs and an occasional healthy meal with green vegetables.
The easiest way I’ve found to get greens into my own diet is through drinking my vegetables – also known as juicing. Juicing has been around for decades, but it seems in the last few years to have really taken off in Tampa. I’m not an expert on the scientific benefits of juicing, but it’s obvious drinking a fresh made green juice (without a lot of fruit) has to be healthy and nutritious. Lucky for us, there are plenty of juicing experts out there like Jason Vale – The Juice Master, Drew Canole with FitLifeTV (check out his juice recipes,) and even the sometimes controversial Vani Hari, or better known as The Food Babe who has a great article on The Top Common Juice Mistakes.
When it comes to drinking our vegetables, we have two options: we can make it ourselves or we can buy it from our local juice shop. At this stage of my life, I’ll be paying someone else to make mine at any of these Tampa locations. Although I must admit, after visiting my friend Erica, who is a health coach, mom of three boys and a juicer for five years, I may reconsider because she makes juicing look so easy.
For those who are considering juicing at home, check out her Basics of Juicing, and make sure to click on the Environmental Working Groups “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen” when it comes to selecting organic or non-organic.
THINGS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING YOUR LOCAL JUICE BAR
Juicer Type – Cold-press juicer versus Centrifugal juicer. There is a difference, but personally I like the juice from both machines. Everyone has an opinion and to help you form one, here’s a simple comparison from our juicing friends at Succo Juice in the United Kingdom.
Samples – Ask for a sample. Many of the companies allow you to sample juices, which helps when selecting one your child will enjoy.
Cleanses – Many of the juice companies offer juice cleanses. Ask the staff to walk you through their juice cleanse options.
Expiration Dates – Check the date on the bottle. Fresh cold-press juices should only be on a shelf for three to five days from the date it was pressed. Just as I do in the grocery store, I pick a juice on the back row to make sure I’m getting the freshest possible.
Delivery – Many of the juice shops will deliver juice to your front door for a minimum order and to specified zip codes.
Catering – Think about catering your next event or business meeting with freshly made juices.
Ask Questions – The staff behind the counter should be experts in the field of juicing and the benefits of each juice ingredient. Tell them your dietary needs and they can direct you to the best option.
THE TAMPA AREA’S TOP JUICE MAKERS
In the Tampa area, we have it all – from a variety of organic juice bars, to locally owned grocery stores, to retail giants, to cafes and even a running shoe company! If I left your favorite juice joint off the list, please add them in the comment section below. Cheers!
510 N. Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602
Urban Juice Company (UJCO) is located in the heart of downtown Tampa in the historic landmark building, The Franklin, built in 1895. They’re mantra is Juice your Destiny™, which translates – Take a hold of your lifestyle, your health and your happiness and make solid decisions about what you eat by giving your body some fresh pressed organic juice. UJCO offers a variety of juice flavors, juice cleanses, smoothies and coffee, plus UJCO has a full lunch menu and now serves dinner. UJCO offers delivery to specified zip codes and they will also ship their juices. Once 5:00 p.m. strikes downtown, customers can enjoy fresh-pressed cocktails and a variety of local beers at UJCO’s The Franklin. The next time you have a mom’s night out or a date night before a show at The Straz, make sure to stop in at The Franklin. Visit the UJCO Facebook page for nightly events.
A Customer Favorite: The Mona Lisa (Kale, Spinach, Cucumber, Carrot, Apple, Kiwi, Lemon)
FRUITWOOD STANDUP MARKET
2203 W. Swann Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606
Fruitwood Standup Market is a stand out market in my book. I love the price point of their juices ($4 to $8) and their freshly made flatbreads, chopped salads and wraps. The service is always friendly and accommodating, and although it’s a standup market, there is an outdoor seating area. This was one of our first stops on our juice taste-testing adventure, and I have to say it’s one of my kids’ favorites. They love the Hyde Park Hangover (they haven’t asked me what a hangover is yet,) with pineapple, orange and coconut water, but I was happy to find a green juice, Doctor Green, with apples, kale, pineapple, lemon and ginger, which my kids really enjoy. Fruitwood is kid-approved and mom-approved! And to top it off, the owners of Fruitwood would rather spend their advertising budget on giving back to the community. Fruitwood has joined efforts with the SuperKonnector’s Give Blood-Get Healthy Blood Drive, which takes place this Saturday, August 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Winn Dixie on 2100 W. Swann Avenue in Tampa. Fruitwood will give out buy one, get one free coupons for those who donate blood.
A Customer Favorite: Hyde Park Hangover (oranges, pineapple and coconut water) and Danny’s Green Lemonade (green apples, lemons, romaine, ginger, spinach and cayenne pepper)
A Kid’s Favorite: Doctor Green (apples, kale, pineapple, lemon and ginger) and Hyde Park Hangover (oranges, pineapple and coconut water)
SOHO JUICE CO.
500 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33606
2200 4th Street, N., St. Petersburg, FL 33704
SOHO Juice Co. is a premium cold pressed organic juice and raw food bar and has two great locations in St. Petersburg and South Tampa. They have an amazing selection of juices, plus a range of nut milks and alkaline waters. My favorite – they have shots of concentrated juice concoctions like Immunity (lemon, garlic, honey and oil of oregano) and Brain Power (e3 live) to fight off sickness and moodiness. I think I’ll grab a shot the next time I’m in a brain fog, which happens around 3 p.m. And on the days when I want more than juice, I love their to-go fresh meals like the Chia Pudding and the Kale Yeah BBQ snack. SOHO Juice Co. offers cleanses for those needing to detox their diets, as well as delivery for the next time you want to bring healthy options to your event or business meeting.
A Customer Favorite: Mo Greens (kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, pineapple, lime and ginger)
2832 S. MacDill Avenue (entrance on Bay to Bay Blvd.,) Tampa, FL 33629
Don’t let their retail space fool you! Before I was on my juice bar mission, I drove by Swami Juice daily on Bay to Bay and never thought to go inside. But I’m so glad I did! I love when I walk into a juice bar and it smells so vegetable fresh. Their cold press organic juices range from The Aussie (pear, kale, cucumber, parsley and kiwi) to the Beet It Kook (beet, carrot, pineapple, turmeric and ginger) and everything in between. They offer juice cleanses and are happy to cater your next event. The staff is friendly and very well educated on the benefits of juicing. Make sure to stop in and cool off with a fresh made juice popsicle! And when you bring back 12 of their glass bottles, you will get a free juice!
A Customer Favorite: Yo Greens (for the experienced Swami drinker – sprouts, kale, chard, cucumber, celery, ginger, parsley and lemon)
A Kid’s Favorite: Sunscreen (carrot, orange, apple, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon)
SQUEEZE JUICE WORKS
226 South Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33606
675 30th Ave. N, Ste 101, St. Petersburg, FL 33704
Lucky for us Squeeze Juice Works has two locations — South Tampa and St. Petersburg. Squeeze juices are handcrafted in small batches and contain only organic seasonal ingredients. I’d venture to say that Squeeze Juice Works has the most variety with about 30 different cold-press juice and nut milk concoctions. They also have a grap-and-go fridge for fresh and healthy meal options like their Power Hour Salad and Raw Taco Salad. And don’t miss their juice shots when you need that extra boost of energy or immunity.
A Customer Favorite: G-Force (cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, parsley and ginger)
A Kid’s Favorite: Child’s Play (apple, carrot and orange,) and Getting Fresh (pineapple, cucumber, kale, lemon and mint)
1350 South Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33606
Eat and drink like you give a FK – their language, not mine. Fresh Kitchen is a welcome breath of fresh food on South Howard Avenue. Not only can you build your own food bowls with organic grains, proteins and vegetables, you can also choose from a great selection of cold-pressed juices to compliment your meal. They even have their own FK Cleanse.
A Customer Favorite: Jugo Verde (pineapple, coconut water, kale, spinach, cilantro, lime and jalapeno)
A Kid’s Favorite: Plant City Greenery (apple, strawberry, romaine, spinach, pineapple and lemon)
FIT2RUN FITNESS BAR
Located by the food court at the International Plaza, Tampa, FL
I don’t always think healthy when I’m at a mall food court, especially with a Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A nearby. But now that I know I can get a fresh, made-to-order juice at the mall, I will certainly do this more often. The Fit2Run Fitness Bar at the International Mall has a good selection of juices along with smoothies and healthy food choices.
Shopping just got healthier.
619 South Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, FL 33609
Xtreme Juice is a smoothie and juice bar located in South Tampa, which has been around for almost 20 years! It not only offers a selection of freshly made to-order vegetable and fruit juices, it also offers tasty smoothies, smoothie pops and an assortment of snacks. One of their most popular items is a wheat grass shot. Wheat grass, when used fresh, is one of the best forms of living chlorophyl and a natural detoxifying agent. Stop in for Wheatgrass Wednesday and get a shot for $1 or their Smoothie Sunday where you get two 24oz smoothies for the price of one.
Rollin’ Oats Market & Cafe
Am I the only one who didn’t know about this amazing locally owned organic market? I’ve been in Tampa for two years and this is the first time I’ve heard of this market. Glad I know now! They make fresh to order juices and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Visit one of their two locations in South Tampa or St. Petersburg and follow them on Facebook for store events.
2842 Dr. Martin Luther King St., St. Petersburg, FL 33704
1021 North MacDill Ave., Tampa, FL 33607
Green Elephant Juice Bar
Tampa’s own cold-pressed juice truck coming to a location near you this August! Make sure to follow them on Facebook to track where they’ll be, or get on their cleanse subscription service or delivery list. This sister-duo team has been delivering their cold-pressed organic juices and juice cleanses for a year to folks in Dunedin, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor and Westchase. And stay tuned – they plan to open up a retail location soon!
A Customer Favorite: Immune Booster (carrots, apples, lemon and ginger,) and the Green Coconut (kale, spinach, lime and coconut water)
A Kid’s Favorite: Beet It (beets, carrots, ginger and pineapple)
1225 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, FL 33755
Nature’s Food Patch offers fresh pressed organic juices, grab-n-go meals, made-to-order sandwiches, smoothies and much more. They recently expanded their store to meet the customer demand for their classes, seminars and events. And moms – don’t miss their upcoming kid-focused events this August: Vegan Kids Lunches, Kids’ Clothing Swap and Free Family Yoga. Check out the Patch Work Community Room calendar for more details.
A Customer Favorite: Green Hornet (cucumbers, celery, carrots, kale, spinach and parsley)
A Kid’s Favorite: The basic carrot & apple – you can’t go wrong.
55 Baymont Street, Clearwater, FL
Let’s give a big welcome to the owners of Basimo Beach Cafe who are celebrating three months in business! Stop by for their fresh pressed juices, smoothies and delicious healthy and hearty meals. Oh and of course — organic coffee!
Whole Foods Market has a raw juice bar and has made-to-order juices. Lucky for us, we have several to choose from in the Tampa area. You can’t go wrong with Whole Foods!
1548 North Dale Mabry, Tampa, FL 33607
3802 Northdale Blvd., Tampa, FL 33624
27001 US 19 North, Clearwater, FL 33761
Please add your favorite juice bar in the comments below. Here’s to drinking our vegetables!