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A glass of orange juice is the image of a vitamin-packed breakfast beverage. But with the high sugar loaded in a cup, there are more healthy beverages to explore.

As you read, we’ll be sharing facts and reasons why orange juice became the breakfast staple that it is. This article will explore alternatives to this popular thirst quencher and recommended beverages that match certain morning scenarios. Wondering what made our list? Here are our top nine orange juice alternatives:

  1. For those mornings you want to try something new try other juices that offer the same, or more health benefits.
  2. Supercharge your morning without caffine and try a cocoa or chocolate drink
  3. For those sluggish mornings try black tea for the energy boost without jitters.
  4. You can try a smoothie in the morning as light meal replacment and support weight loss goals.
  5. A Fruit-infused water can be especially hydrating before your morning workout.
  6. As an ‘old faithful’ drink, a cup of coffee to help you stay focused and alert for a long day.
  7. Did you know that milk can make a good post-morning workout drink?
orange juice

Orange Juice, A Drink of History

In the 1890s, Florida grew lots of oranges, and the fruit became popular with tourists. Most of them brought them home as gifts for their families and friends. Scurvy and skin diseases were rampant during that time, and oranges were believed to help keep these pesky diseases at bay.

Freshly sliced orange

What’s in Your Orange?

This citrus fruit is rich in phenolic compounds contributing to its anti-oxidant properties. In fact, one serving of a medium-sized navel orange will give you the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Some studies suggest that regular consumption improves heart health and reduces risks for kidney stones.

But is it really the ultimate breakfast beverage? Let’s check out the contenders!

Alterantive #1 : Other Juices

Fruit juices provide lots of vitamins and minerals. But, experts suggest that breakfast be well-balanced. Consuming a variety of food groups will help sustain your energy and balance your gut microbiome.

Do remember that your body needs more than the glucose boost. Pair your juice with a good amount of protein and fats. This will give your body more fuel for the rest of the day. Be careful, though, as doctors recommend that you avoid consuming too much of the ready-to-drink versions. If possible, try taking organic and freshly squeezed ones, not the ultra-pasteurized ones you buy in the stores, as those can be quite bad for you.

Nevertheless, if you are considering other juice alternatives, here are some recommendations:

  • Pomegranate juice contains higher antioxidants than most fruits. Regular consumption can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
  • Cranberry juice is packed with vitamins and minerals. Drinking unsweetned version can help improve your heart health. some even say it is associated with treating and preventing urinary tract infections.
  • Coconut juice is a great drink after a long workout session. It’s perfect for hydrating and replenishing lost electrolytes. This tropical beverage may even help prevent kidney stones.

Preps for Juicing

If you’re committed to drinking varied fruit beverages for healthier mornings, make sure you shop for your ingredients earlier. It’s best to get them fresh from weekend organic markets; that way, you have them handy for the rest of the week—read-up on storing fruits properly, so they don’t rot.

If juicing is going to be a frequent thing, you might want to check out these amazing portable juicers on amazon.com and upgrade from using a blender and straining the liquid.

Alterantive # 2 : A Cup Of Cocoa/ Hot Chocolate

Imagine nursing a cup of hot and delicious cocoa on a cold morning? Sound good? We think so too! Beware, as popular powdered mixes often use a lot of dairy products and sugar. If you are going to indulge, check the ingredients and label, or better yet, make it from scratch.

Historical data shows that cacao beans were as precious as gold in ancient times because of their healing properties and ritualistic use. If you planned a full day of physical activities, opting for a cup of cocoa can give you the calories you need and the fat (from the chocolate) to stay satiated for a while.

Another Fun Fact: In ancient Central America, Mayans will often drink their cocoa with chilies. Fierce soldiers will gulp this down hot before battles to ensure they’re all powered up and ready to fight. A far cry from the comforting drink we now know it to be.

Different Ways to Enjoy your Chocolate Drink

We all have our preferences when enjoying this beverage. Believe it or not, there are healthy ways actually to enjoy this without guilt. Here are three different cocoa recipes you can do at home.

Hot and Raw

This is a recipe from the website: From Scratch Fast and a great alternative to store-bought mixes. It’s easy to prepare and uses raw cacao powder, a less processed form of cocoa powder. The recipe is simple. You whisk the cacao with cold milk and drizzle it with honey. For the kick, they suggest adding a splash of vanilla and a pinch of rock salt to give some balance to the flavor.

If you make this recipe, we will stress that you make sure that the cacao is dissolved and mixed well into the milk before heating the mixture on a stove. Also, do not use hot water as the cacao will clump together, and you get a lumpy mess. We tried this, and it was no bueno!

The Vegan Alternative

For the vegans and lactose-intolerant, don’t just strike out this beverage just yet. Check out this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen and see how they used coconut and almond milk in their version of this beverage. The recipe uses the cocoa in the purest form resulting in a strong and indulgently rich flavor.

Malty, Nutty Chocolate

Just like the first recipe, this version from Yummly and uses raw cacao powder too. To make it more malty, nutty, and protein-rich, it uses various organic seeds and nuts. To be precise, you can see that the recipe calls for a combination of flaxseed, sunflower seed, sesame seeds, pepitas, almonds, brazilian nuts, cashews, and even pecan. Sound interesting? Check out the step-by-step guide from their site.

Alternative #3: Can’t Go Wrong With Tea

Tea has been an English and Asian breakfast staple. But it is not only the English that enjoy a cup of tea; research shows that 159 million people in the U.S. drink tea. Like coffee, it gives you an energy boost from its caffeine content.

Wondering why stressed people are often offered a cuppa? That’s because the plant’s aroma can help calm the nerves. A study done by the University College London found that black tea helped bring down cortisol levels in stressed participants by as much as 47%. If you’re low on energy and want to stay alert and calm, black tea can be a good choice.

Alternative #4: Smoothies

If you need a beverage that’s packed with vitamins and minerals yet light on the stomach, get that tumbler and make a refreshing fruit smoothie. So why drink smoothies to start your day?

  1. Aid Digestion: Drinking smoothies can help you get the recommended intake of fiber (25 grams for women, and 38 grams for men). Mix and match berries, citrus, melons, tomatoes, and avocados to get the best of health benefits. Just avoid adding sugar syrup or fruit juices. Fruits have lots of natural sweeteners and glucose already.
  2. Nutritious: Smoothies can be very flexible. You can add in nuts, yogurt, and other dairy alternatives. If you’re always in a rush, they make a great meal prep item as you can prepare a bottle the night before. Check out these air-tight containers from Amazon
  3. Better choice for Diabetics: In an article we wrote a few months back, we shared healthy smoothie recpies perfect for diabetics that include avocadoes, non-fat yogurt, tofu, chia seeds, hempseed, almond butter, and even flaxseed. Rather than fruit juices that can spike the blood sugar, a well balanced smoothie can prove a better choice.
  4. Improves hydration: It’s recommended that on average, a person should be able to consume at least 2.7 liters of water. While you need to drink as much as possible, sometimes, you crave more taste. Smoothies can count to your liquid intake as they are made with ingerdients that are mostly water.
  5. Aid in Weight Loss: Vegetable smoothies will help make you feel fuller. By putting in as many leafy greens and crunchy celeries, you will be able to stave off hunger. Blending your fruit and vegatables means improving the food’s digestibility, unlocking nutrients better than when eating a salad.
  6. Help Regulate Mood: vegetables are rich in folic acid, and a natural antidepressant, increasing serotonin levels . Who would have thought that a glass of veggies is also a serving of a happier morning?

Alternative #5: Refreshing Infused Water

Start your day well and drink water in the morning. If you don’t want to drink your meal, infused water might be your ultimate breakfast beverage. It’s an exceptional way to hydrate. It allows you to reach your daily dose of vitamins and can be an amazing thirst quencher for those who don’t like the taste of pure water. What are the best fruits for water infusion, you might ask? Here are our top picks!

  • Strawberry, basil, and lemon will give you a citrus punch. It might be able to mimic the taste of mimosas, minus the alcohol of course!
  • Honeydew, cucumber, and mint for a cold and sweet drink. A beverage meant for a hot summer day.
  • Pineapple, coconut, and lime is your ultimate tropical-infused water. It’s like the flavors of the Caribbean delivered in a glass.
  • Watermelon, kiwi, and lime are your sweet and sour mix. It’s like something you’d snack on a scorching day at the beach, except it’s in a bottle.
  • Grapefruit, pomegranate, and mint infused water is a refreshing beverage. This is your perfect thirst quencher with the ultimate antioxidant combo.

Want to start your water infusion journey? Check out this list of the top five infusion pitchers we found on amazon.com. Also, read about other things to add to your water for a subtle flavor and a nice change of pace.

Altenrative #6: Strong, Black Coffee

Americans drink about 400 million cups of coffee every day. A lot of people can’t imagine starting the day without coffee. It’s known to boost energy, but also affect sleep. But, it can make a good morning beverage because it:

  • Improves Memory Function : Having black coffee in the morning improves how the brain function. Regular consumption of the drink, as long as it’s done right, can keep your alert and ready to tackle the day.
  • More Energy for Your Workout : Some trainers encourage gym-goers to consume caffeine before their sessions as doing so can increase the adrenaline levels in the blood, preparing the body for intense physical exercises.

Altenative #7: Start The Day With A Glass Of Milk

Moms usually encourage their kids to drink warm milk to help them sleep at night. Some take their dairy with their cereals in the morning. Then some drink it as it is. Sometimes even straight out from the jug. Gross! But, we’re not here to judge people. We’re here to share reasons why it’s an excellent alternative to orange juice.

  1. It’s Packed with Nutrients : A cup of milk, about 244 grams contains protein, fat, calcium, vitamin D. Riboflavin (B2), vitamin B12, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium. In fact, organic cow’s milk contains even higher amounts of beneficial antioxidants. It’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
  2. It Will Benefit Your Bone Health: The powerful combination of nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and protein is responsible for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
  3. Milk Prevents Weight Gain: there are studies that link drinking whole milk with lower risks of obesity. The research shows that high levels of dietary calcium promote fat breakdown and inhibit its absorption in the body.

But what happens if you are vegan or lactose intolerant? If you’re lactose intolerant, consider these dairy alternatives:

Oat Milk

Oat milk is usually made from soaking grains. Although it’s not the same as eating it, it’s still very nutritious. It’s naturally sweet but high in carbohydrates. It also contains some soluble fiber, which makes it creamier than the other alternatives. A study showed that the participants who drank it for 5 weeks had lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels.

Almond Milk

Are you on a low-carb diet? Unsweetened almond milk has lower carbohydrate content compared to cow’s milk. It’s is, however, packed with calcium, vitamins A and D. Although it gives you protein, this is not the milk for you if you are allergic to nuts.

Soya Milk

When it comes to nutrition, soy milk comes closest to your regular cow’s milk. Soybeans are an excellent source of complete protein. It’s the best option if you’re trying to avoid dairy, and it tastes great too!

Keep it Fresh

Now that we’ve rounded up all the alternatives to orange juice, don’t forget these tips:

  • Check the nutrition label. Sometimes, bottled juices claiming to be fresh, or have no added sugar, still have loads of sugar becuase they contain so much fruit. Don’t drink your calories, especially if you are pairing your morning beverage with food.
  • Shop wisely. The fresher it is, the healthier it is. Spend time shopping for whole-food ingredients.
  • variety is the spice to life. Don’t limit yourself to just juice. Try many things and customize you beverage to suit what you will be doing that day .