At least once a week on the slow weekends, I drag out the juicer. Most of the time I prefer to make smoothies (instead of juicing) to preserve all the fiber of the fruit and veggies. But there's something about the "whirrr" of the big juicer that bring my kids running!
So we drag out all the veggies we can find and lay them out on the cutting board. Then we fire up the juicer--and with close supervision--we let them start plopping kale, carrots, beets, ginger and apples into the mouth of the juicer. Soon there are pieces of carrot flying around (see picture below of Izzy dodging an apple slice. I may start having them wear safety goggle!) and the juice pitcher starts filling up with a wild rainbow of colors. The kids are having so much fun they start rummaging through the fridge looking for more veggies! Today Finley found another back of baby carrots and started juicing them! That makes me so happy!
Then the best part...they start fighting for who gets the first glass of juice! They start guzzling the juice and clamoring for seconds before my wife and I get our first glass. There's no other way I could get my kids to this excited about eating kale, carrots, beets and ginger! After this morning's juicing, Emerson asked if we could just plant beets in our garden this year so we could have more to eat!
We're lucky enough to have a nice big juicer that we got as a wedding gift. (Thanks Brad and Charlyn!) It's the Breville one with the big red power button my kids fight over for who gets to press it! Word of advice: clean the juicer immediately after you're done...especially the mesh strainer. It's easy to clean with the little scrubber brush while it's fresh. Dried veggies stick like cement to the mesh.
Another tip: Before you start juicing, place one of the small produce bags in the discard container that probably came with your juicer. This simplifies clean up since all the pulp goes into a bag that you can toss or compost. (I mentioned to my wife this morning that I wish we could compost this stuff and she said my inner-hippie was showing. Not sure if that was a compliment.)
The upside of juicing is that you extract all of the nutrient-dense juice from the cell walls of the veggies and fruit. You can see how potent the dark, dense colors of the juice are. It's a nutrition powerhouse. And for people that have trouble digesting rough vegetables, this can be a huge nutrition boost. But that bag of pulp (see below) brings up the downside of juicing. All that pulp is actually fiber that you're not eating. But you still need to get fiber in your diet, so eat your salad and whole veggies during the week. But on some slow weekend morning try adding some fresh veggie juice into your routine and see if your kids come running. If they do, let them in on the fun and you'll be giving them a sneak attack of veggies!
Todd's Kid Pleaser Juice Recipe:
- 2 apples (quartered so they don't get stuck in the juicer)
- 4 large carrots
- 1/2 bunch of kale (stalks and all)
- 1 large beet (quartered, and keep the greens and juice them too!)
- 1/4" slice of fresh ginger root (don't use too much of this or the juice will be spicy)