As often as I can I try to start the kid’s morning off with fresh juice made from my Breville juicer. The school week can be really busy and it isn’t always easy to cram in all of the nutrients they need to fuel their afterschool activities. Fresh squeezed juice is a fantastic way to give their bodies what it craves. In a perfect world my kids would drink 100% vegetable juice, but reality is different. I can get the kids to drink their green veggies as long as I temper them with the sweetness of apples and carrots. Little by little I have been able to add more and more greens.
If your kids are new to juicing, start them off with apple juice (I have never met a kid that didn’t LOVE fresh squeezed apple juice). Move on from there by slowly adding more and more carrots to the mix which are also very sweet. After a while you will be able to add in greens. I find cucumber, spinach, romaine, and sugar snap peas to be very mild in taste, so those are your best bets when starting to add greens to your juice.
Good juicers are a fantastic investment and they make juicing a cinch, however you don’t need to own a juicer in order to make fresh juice. If you own a blender or a Vitamix and have a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, then you can make juice. It will be a bit more work, but well worth it. In order to make juice with a blender you will need to add some water to the pitcher, chop in your veggies (watery veggies and fruits should go in near the bottom where the blade is), blend and then strain through the nut milk bags into another bowl. Work in batches until you are done.
To make the juice with a juicer, prepare all of your fruits and veggies by washing them and cutting them down to size if they are too big to fit through the opening of your juicer. Once your produce is ready, set-up your juicer. In order to minimize clean-up, I like to line my juicer’s pulp collector with one of my recycled produce bags. Also keep some paper towel or an extra cup on hand for when you remove the juice pitcher. I block the juice nozzle with a paper towel whenever I move the juice pitcher away…otherwise it will drip onto the counter.
When you juice, make sure you juice the softer fruits and vegetables first (i.e. romaine, cucumber, sugar snap peas, tomatoes) and then push the rest of their pulp through with the harder fruits and vegetables… this will ensure that you get as much juice out of them as you can.
Some kids are very put off by the color of juice that has carrots or greens in it. I have found a way around that by purchasing some fun cups in different colors. When my daughter drinks out of her fun green cup with the cool straw, she has no idea what color the juice actually is. You could also get some wacky straws to help encourage your children to drink the juice.
Most importantly, get your kids involved. When children participate in making their food, they are much more likely to actually consume that food.
The heavenly creature above was photographed by darek.zon
Gretchen Tseng is a Nutrition Specialist with Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University. At a young age she experienced a series of illnesses which propelled her to seek nutrition based solutions. Gretchen is absolutely passionate about sharing the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and can be found doing so through her website Veggie Grettie at www.veggiegrettie.com . Gretchen lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and 4 legged best bud. She dreams of living on a farm someday surrounded by animals and the most amazing organic garden she can imagine.