Are vegetable juices as healthy as eating whole veg? I’ve been trying to get my 4 year old daughter to eat more fruit and vegetables and I’ve found that she quite likes it when I add vegetables to juices. She really likes kale in a juice which is a complete surprise to me! But is any of the nutrition lost this way? Are juiced vegetables just as nutritious as whole ones? (I use a macerating juicer which extracts the juice rather than a Nutribullet type juicer). And do you have any suggestions for other ways to use vegetables in juices.
Well done in encouraging your daughter to try more greens. Ideally it is best to encourage children to eat vegetables rather than to juice them as you will lose the valuable fibre which is not only helpful to support their digestive health but also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Juices, even if they contain some vegetables, are typically high in sugars and this can disrupt their blood sugar levels and there is concern about children drinking juices and dental health. Smoothies, for example, blended in a NutriBullet are a slightly better option as they do contain the whole vegetable and fruit so are typically higher in fibre.
You can also add in other ingredients such as healthy fats like nut butters, coconut, yoghurt, avocado and protein e.g nuts and seeds which creates a more balanced drink. Blending up avocado with some greens and a banana or ripe pear with some coconut water creates a creamy mild smoothie she may enjoy. Often we suggest trying milder greens first like cos or romaine lettuce and spinach before moving onto stronger greens like kale, rocket, parsley etc.
However there are many other ways to encourage your children to try more greens. Roasting vegetables, blending into soups, stews and pasta sauces, spiralising carrots and courgettes, making cauliflower rice and creating your own kale crisps are all great ideas. Some children prefer vegetables raw with dips so try cutting up a wide range and have them out for snacking on. The more variety of vegetables you try the better as she may well find new favourites.