As stated in our previous article, artificially sweetened drinks are being consumed by children at an astounding rate, causing health problems like obesity while sugar consumption is reaching all-time highs. Juices from concentrate, flavored milk, and soda are just a few examples of popular unhealthy drinks children have on a daily basis. There are many options for your children when it comes to them enjoying a healthy drink while still being able to pack in tons of hidden nutrients. Other than water being drunk regularly throughout the day, our two favorite drinks are freshly-squeezed juices and smoothies. Extracting the juice from fresh fruit and vegetables, also known as juicing, is an easy way to get the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your children need in one glass of delicious juice rather than trying to eat a large variety of fruits and veggies one would need to eat to add up to one glass of juice! Using a juicing machine, different than a blender, literally extracts all the juice out of the produce and separates it from the pulp and skin which means there isn’t much fiber in the juice. It makes it easier for the body to digest all the nutrients without the stomach being overloaded with fiber. It is important to note that your children will still need to get their daily intake of fiber so it’s vital not to neglect this essential part of their diets. Our favorite produce to juice are pineapple, beets, apples, carrots, celery, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, just to name a few. For softer fruits like berries, we recommend blending those instead of juicing them because much of the health benefits are lost when they are juiced since berries are so delicate.
Smoothies are another wonderful option because you can literally blend a ton of different fruits and vegetables together and your children won’t even know you hid produce into it they don’t normally eat! To children, a smoothie tastes like a milkshake or ice cream and has the consistency of it too so they literally have no idea they are enjoying something that is so good for their health as well. To preserve the life of your produce, we recommend freezing 1 serving portions that you can pop in the blender to save time and prep. For fruit, simply blend a few of the same type of fruit in the blender then pour the mixture into single portion servings and freeze. For vegetables, some can be easily treated like fruit and can be blended quickly and frozen. Spinach is a good example of this. For something like spinach, before blending, pour in a tiny bit of water to make it more liquefied. If you want to freeze something like butternut squash or sweet potato, steam the vegetable first, allow it to cool as to not burn your fingers, then pour the flesh into the blender with a tiny bit of water and blend, pour, and freeze. After your produce is frozen solid, place the individual-sized servings into large sealed plastic bags that are labeled accordingly to the type of fruit or vegetable they are.
We also recommend getting creative with your juices and smoothies! Mix ground chia seeds into the drink for Omega-3 benefits, add plain yogurt to the smoothie, or sprinkle the drink with raw cocoa powder or unsweetened shredded coconut. Your children LOVE variety when it comes to “sweet” treats and we promise these drinks will taste so good they will have no idea how healthy they really are!