Before we bought a juicer, my husband and I drank orange or apple juice for breakfast and that’s all the fruit we would have for the day unless one of us got desperate enough to eat an apple for a snack (a very rare occurrence indeed). Our toddler, on the other hand, could drink an entire container of Gerber fruit juice in one day (which left me changing diapers every 30 minutes or so and was making us broke). Life since the juicer looks A LOT different. At first I tried juicing for all three meals for all three of us, but I quickly realized that our grocery bill would be through the roof not to mention the time it would take to prep the fruits and veggies and then clean the juicer each time (toddlers aren’t known for their patience!).
Mornings seemed to be the most hectic as we were all getting ready for our day, so I dropped the morning juicing. I wanted to start buying juices that weren’t from concentrate or that didn’t contain unnecessary preservatives. I was surprised that a lot of apple juices, including organic juices, contain artificial ingredients to affect the color of the juice, and lots of orange juices include additional acids. In the end, the least processed mainstream juices I could find at the grocery store were Simply Apple and Florida’s Natural. Simply Apple claims to be “made from 100% pure pressed apple juice, Simply Apple® is never sweetened and never concentrated,” and Florida’s Natural describes its juices as “not-from-concentrate juices have that right-from-the-grove, fresh-squeezed taste. And, just like fresh-squeezed juice, there’s no water, sugar, or preservatives added, only 100 percent pure premium quality pasteurized orange juice.”
I still juice for lunch and dinner. Lunch is when I juice for my toddler and I share some of the juice that I make for her. Dinner is when I juice for just my husband and me.
Juicing for a toddler: I try to go with the RAINBOW method, described here, making sure that our daughter gets fruits and vegetables of almost all the colors of the rainbow each day for variety.
I try to choose one item from each category, or if I don’t have something from each, I might choose two from the same category (for instance if I don’t have blueberries or grapes I might use both oranges and carrots). Here’s an example of a typical juice:
Red– apples, strawberries, cherries
Orange– oranges, carrots
Yellow– pears, summer squash, pineapple
Green– spinach, kale, swiss chard
Purple– grapes, purple cabbage
When making juice for a toddler, you MUST dilute it. Commercial baby and toddler juices are highly diluted (so are many juices for adults for that matter). I usually fill a sippy cup about half-way with juice and the other half with water and give it 4-5 good shakes to mix. If you’re trying to get your child to drink milk, you can also add some milk after you have diluted it with some water.
When juicing for my husband and me, I try to go more green so that we add things into our diets that we would normally never eat, so I try to incorporate fruits and vegetables that aren’t part of our normal diet, like beets, pears, swiss chard, etc.
My go-to web site for juicing recipes for us is The Blender. Since I’m only juicing for two for one meal I don’t always use as many ingredients as they suggest (one beet makes quite a bit of juice so I usually don’t use more than one), but it has encouraged me to try a lot of creative pairings I wouldn’t have otherwise.