Juicing for kids

Are your kids eating a well balance diet containing the right amounts of vitamins and minerals? If not, could juicing be the answer to your prayers?

Though some children love fruit and vegetables, many need more than a little gentle persuasion to eat them. Lots of children that enjoyed fruit and veg as babies and toddlers seem to realize that stereotypically they shouldn’t. This leads to them saying “yuck” (and a lot worse) to anything remotely healthy. Other children find the acidity and texture hard to like. Eating fruit and veg can be quite filling because of the high fibre content, this can put children off eating a large amount of fresh fruit and vegetable produce..

The reasons why they won’t eat fruit and veg doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all understand why they should receive a healthy and balanced diet. The reasons include ensuring healthy growth and development, energy, enthusiasm (yes really!), concentration and vitality.

So had you thought that a multi-vitamin tablet was the answer to all your problems? Well think again! Though fresh fruit and veg provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals they also have much more to offer, with which a powdered capsule cannot compete against.

The enzymes contained in fresh fruit and vegetable juices actually help the body to absorb, digest and put all those vitamins and minerals into use. Enzymes are the keys to many chemical processes that occur in our digestive system and providing our kids with a good source of enzymes provides them with the means that the body and mind can receive the full effects of the essential vitamins and minerals.

Eating raw fruit and vegetables allows these enzymes to be released into the body, but there is a better and more efficient way. That is where fruit and vegetable juicing comes in, especially vegetable juicing as juicing breaks down the fibres and allows the nutrients to be released from within the indigestible fibres so a greater amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes are made available to the body for digestion.

Juicing is also a much more popular choice for children. Fruit and some vegetable juices (such as carrot and beetroot) tend to be sweet in taste which is appealing to the kids and lacking in artificial colourings, sweeteners and preservatives found in many ‘orange squash’ type drinks and fruit flavoured fizzy pop. These artificial ingredients found in store bought ‘juice impersonator’ drinks have been known to cause hyperactivity and other behavioural problems in children. Many children also find it easier to drink a half pint of juice rather than eat 3 or 4 pieces of fruit, especially if they have been running around and are thirsty.

Highly nutritional juices such as yellow bell pepper and green vegetable juices can be made more appealing to kids by disguising their taste with sweeter juices such as apple or grape juice.

Important points to consider when giving your kids fresh juice

1. Teeth and high sugar fruit juices
Most fruit juices and some vegetable juices (e.g. carrot juice) have a high sugar content. Luckily fresh juice more than makes up for this in other areas unlike fizzy pops and artificial orange squashes. Make sure that your child cleans their teeth around half an hour after having juicem. You should not clean your teeth straight after having juice as the enamel of the tooth is slightly weakened by the high acid content of the juice and brushing at this point can damage the weakened enamel. After around half an hour the body restores the acid balance and the enamel is better prepared to be brushed.

2. The high sugar content also has to be taken into account as a large amount of sugar may be absorbed into the bloodstream after drinking a large amount of fruit juice.

Be sure to consult your doctor or a health professional before starting a significant juicing program for yourself or your children.