In an ideal world, our children would never be exposed to any sugary “fruit drinks” or packaged juices. But if yours have already developed a taste for sweet drinks, the easiest way to get them to begin drinking raw, fresh homemade juice is to include fruit in the juice.
What they will drink, what’s good for them
Although raw fruit juice contains higher sugar levels than vegetable juice does, your children will be much better off with these juices than with commercial juices. If you make your kids’ juices with organic fruits, that is better for them still.
You can sneak green vegetables into young children’s juices, and they won’t be aware of it. Over time, as they get more adventuresome in their juice acceptance, you can show them how adding “a few leaves of this and a little of that” makes for fun and exciting new recipes.
If juicing has become a way of life in your household, your kids are probably curious about it already. There is no reason they cannot be active age-appropriate participants.
Kids are always curious about things that go “vroom!” So rather than keeping them away from the electric juicer, why not introduce them to the wonders of juicing?
Fortunately, modern centrifugal juicers have features that prevent the blades from spinning improperly. A further safety step would be to plug the appliance in only while you are making juice.
Make your family’s favorite juice, say Blackberry Lemonade (2 apples, 1 peeled lemon, 1 cup blackberries), and say that you are adding three “somethings” to it. As they hide their eyes, add three leaves of spinach, three slices of cucumber, or three chunks of parsnip. Serve each child a half-glassful and see if they can identify the secret ingredient.
- Variation: put vegetables/greens out on the counter to provide clues.
- Variation: add another three “somethings” to the same juice and see if they can figure that one out.
“Match the colors”
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 juice each item will yield.
As you insert each ingredient, call out its name and have them hold up that color crayon in one hand, and the predicted color (if different) in the other hand. If you have more than one child playing, they can take turns for each veggie.
- Variation: have them draw—or color circles—each fruit or veggie as you prepare it.
- Variation: have them scribble all the selected colors together to see how close they can come to the final color.
NOTE: normally you would work fast while making juice, to preserve the micronutrients and prevent loss through oxidation. Playing this game with the kids will naturally slow you down. It’s a trade-off, you decide!
Kids can cook --err-- juice
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.
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.
The family that juices together stays together. Enjoy!