The Health Benefits of Juicing For Kids
Want to get more nutrients into your child’s diet in an easy and effective way? Juicing may be the answer. In recent years, the juicing trend has hit the mainstream; a whole host of celebrities - from Nicole Richie to the cast of TOWIE - have jumped on the juicing bandwagon thanks to its incredible health benefits and potential for weight loss. Juicing vegetables and fruit is the best way to pack your children’s diet full of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients, resulting in increased energy and improved health. Buying your own juicer is the first step – whilst ready-made juices can be tasty and healthy, it’s far more purse-friendly – and body-friendly – to create your own combinations at home.
The fruit and vegetable ratio
But while it’s fine to include a few portions of fruit to improve the flavour, your juice should be made up of 80% green vegetables and 20% fruit if you really want your kids to reap the benefits. The amount of fructose in fruit means that can lead to weight gain in some instances, whereas leafy greens and other vegetables are nutritionally dense, offering all kinds of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are proven to fight cancer, heart disease and other serious health problems.
Kids will love ingredients like apples, pears, pineapple and oranges, which will mask the taste of those important vegetables like kale, spinach, celery and carrots. Plus, you could even make delicious smoothies using a blender, mixing it up with coconut or almond milk for a smooth, creamy texture and delicious taste. During the summer months, why not add frozen bananas or ice and blend-up, freeze fresh juice into popsicles?
Keeping kids healthy with juicing
It can be tricky to ensure that kids are getting all the nutrients that that their developing bodies need. Fussiness and a common dislike of vegetables – and other healthful snacks - can lead to a diet that is packed with harmful sugars and starches. With obesity levels on the rise and a sedentary lifestyle of computer games and internet-based activity more popular than ever, it’s therefore important to find a way to pack plenty of those essential nutrients into their diet. Sugar has been proven to have an adverse effect on children's behaviour, with many parents reporting increased levels of hyperactivity and a decreased appetite for ‘proper’ meals.
Juicing can be a great way to get the right nutrients into kids, simultaneously keeping those sugary, starchy snacks at bay. The process itself can be made into a fun and interactive activity; allowing kids to get involved in the creation of their juice is more likely to give them reason to enjoy it. Just one glass of juice can provide on average four servings of fruit and vegetables and a greater dose of phytonutrients including antioxidants. Immune-boosting and brain-boosting nutrients in one simple cup; it’s easy to see the benefits!
Home made vs shop bought juices
Fresh juices made at home with your own juicer wins far more health points over fruit juices and smoothies bought on the shelves. Most fruit juices sold commercially in the UK are pasteurised, and are heat-treated so they can last longer on the shelves with no bacteria - but this ultimately means that the nutritional value is compromised. Making your juice from scratch at home is a far more effective way to gain the maximum nutritional value for your kids!
Getting kids to enjoy juicing
Generally, kids will choose healthful alternatives when they are tasty, visually appealing and presented in a creative way. Serving up a glass of bright green liquid that they've had no role in creating will probably result in fussy Freddie making a scene at the kitchen table. Instead, allow them to take part in the juicing itself; you could even challenge them to come up with creative names for their juice. Serving the juice up in an attractive or novelty glass could also make the whole experience more fun and interactive.
Things to bear in mind when juicing for children
Whilst juicing can have incredible health benefits for children, it's worth bearing in mind that they generally require far smaller doses than adults. A full juice cleanse is never recommended for children and the amount of fruit and vegetables in each juice should be monitored to ensure that they are benefiting from just the right amount of nutrients - no more, no less!
Author: Jenni Jenkins