When I first began juicing 2. 5 years ago, I thought it would be a family activity. But from the first day, both my son and my husband made it clear that I was on my own. Both of them taste-tested a few, but after a couple of days of that, they would have nothing to do with it.
As my fast went on, I began brainstorming how I could possibly get my then 12-year-old son interested in juicing. Like most children in the U.S., he was exposed to any sugary fruit drinks and soda from a fairly early age (boy, do I regret that now). I realized that just like me, he was going to need some time for his tastes to change, and in order to make that happen, I would have to sweeten things up a again.
Juicing for Kids
If your children have already developed a taste for sweet drinks, too, the easiest way to get them to begin drinking raw, fresh homemade juice is to include fruit in the juice.
Although raw fruit juice contains higher sugar levels than vegetable juice does, your children will be much better off with these juices than with pre-packaged juices. Making your kids’ juices with organic fruits and veggies makes it even better. Pairing the juice with a high protein meal will help slow down the absorption of the sugar.
In the beginning, you may need to sneak green vegetables into your young children’s juices so they are not aware of what you’re doing. Over time, as they get more adventurous and their taste buds begin to adjust, you can show them how adding a few different ingredients makes for fun and exciting new recipes.
Kids of all ages are curious and love kitchen small appliances. Take advantage of their curiosity to introduce them to your juicer and the wonders of juicing. If your kids are older, begin by getting them involved with juicing for you or their younger siblings. Here are a few tips to guide you with introducing raw juices and juicing to your kids.
Fortunately, most centrifugal juicers have features that prevent the blades from spinning improperly. Mine will not work at all unless every piece is properly locked in. To be extra careful, I unplug my juicer when it is not in use.
Make a Game of It
Make your family’s favorite juice – -something like Blackberry Lemonade (2 apples, 1 peeled lemon, 1 cup blackberries). Tell your kids that you are adding three things to it. As they hide their eyes, add three leaves of spinach, three slices of cucumber, and three chunks of celery. Serve each child a half-glassful and see if they can identify the secret ingredient. If they have trouble guessing, put several fruits and vegetables out on the table to give them a clue.
You’ll need the large box of crayons for this. As you start to make juice, either green juice for your own fasting, or a fruit punch (like apples, honeydew melon, grapes and lemon) for an after-nap snack, show the kids which ingredients you are preparing. Have them pull out crayon colors to match your produce. Then have them guess what color the final juice will be.
Kids Can Juice, Too
Get your kids involved at an early age in preparing for juicing. Two-year-olds can swish curly kale leaves in a bowl of cool water, four-year-olds can peel oranges, and six-year-olds can slice English cucumbers or pit cherries under your supervision. My 14-year old can do the entire process from start to finish.
Let them drop ingredients into the chute and turn on the switch. Let them play with the high and low speeds to see what difference it makes in the output of apples or cucumbers. Make it a fun learning opportunity!
The family that juices together stays healthy together.
Or something like that.
Join me again tomorrow as we look at the opposite end of the age spectrum as I share some special considerations for juicing with seniors
Juice of the Day
A lot of kids shy away from green juices. They are just turned off by the color green. But if you sweeten it just enough, you may just be able to get them to drink it. I make this juice for breakfast, and it was the green juice that my son finally accepted. As a bonus, it’s chock-full of antioxidants to start his day off well.
Green Sunshine Juice for Kids
- 1 big handful spinach
- 1 kale leaf
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 2 small apples
- 1 small or 1/2 large lemon
- 1 handful purple grapes
- Wash all produce well
- Peel the lemon and core the apple
- Add all ingredients through juicer and enjoy (I recommend Breville)
Yield: 16 oz