My son had his first fresh vegetable juice at the age of two. It was carrot, celery and apple and he enjoyed it enough to have continued drinking a daily juice for over five years now. In all these years making juice for my son, and through my own experience as a juicing child, I have learnt there are definite dos and dont’s , when it comes to juicing with kids.
5 juicing mistakes to avoid
1 – too spicy
I add ginger to nearly all my family’s juices. It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties which are important to preventative and healing health. Also ginger, along with lemon, really lifts the flavor of fruit and vegetable juices. However, a little goes a long way with kids. Just a small sliver is enough for a young child’s juice. Firstly if the juice is too ‘hot’ with spice, it may put your child off juicing altogether, or it could result in discomfort due to heartburn, mouth irritations and diarrhea in young children, much more so than adults.
2 – too complicated
I have tried and tested many ways to get a young child to drink a nourishing glass of vegetable juice and my first tip to other parents and carers is always to keep it simple. I know first hand that simple is best, especially when juicing is a new experience.
It is easy to think that adding a large list of ingredients, or even exotic ingredients, will keep a young child interested in juicing – but it isn’t true. It wasn’t true for me as a child and it certainly isn’t true for my son. Unfortunately a nourishing (but undrinkable) juice can end up down the sink instead of inside your child if the taste is wrong.
3 – too green
Everyone seems to be juicing and blending green drinks lately, but caution needs to be taken with younger children. Leafy greens have a strong detox effect on the body, so limit the amount for children. Also, the taste buds of children, young children especially, are more sensitive to bitterness (think kale) than adults. If you are making a green juice for a child, green apples and cucumbers are a great addition to make the grassy, green flavour more palatable.
4 – too strong
Any flavor that is overbearing is likely to result in a juice not being liked by your child, whether it is ginger or leafy greens. A juice that tastes too strong has the base juice, strong flavoured juice and sweetened juice out of balance. All juices should have the majority of the juice made up of a base. The base is a neutral flavour like cucumber, carrots or celery. Small amounts of stronger flavors are diluted by the base juice and the overall juice is more palatable.
5 – too much
When my son was two years old his first fresh juice was around the size of a shot glass. Over the years he has become so accustomed to drinking a daily fresh juice that it is an easy task for him to polish off an 8oz glass – sometimes even two. Be realistic of your child’s age and how long they have been drinking fresh juice. Starting small is an easy way to let them get accustomed with drinking a daily juice to build their juicing habit.
Taste will leave a glass empty
Juicing gives incredible long-term health benefits, but the benefits come from the habit, not the once in a while juice. To help your child make juicing a habit it needs to be an enjoyable part of the day, but most important of all THE JUICE NEEDS TO TASTE GREAT.