Monday, May 27, 2013

Elias's Morning Juice Recipe & $1 Items Fun4Kiddos

Well it's no secret that Elias has become really obsessed with making his own juice.  I'm not sure if that's because he has a genuine love for cooking/creating tastes or because he's so particular about his own food!  He doesn't even like eating/drinking something unless he was there to witness it being made --he's like a paranoid little spy or something lol.  Because of this love of juicing, we do it at least 3 times a day together.  The first juice he has is the same recipe each day.  Good thing too because it's hard to write down these juice recipes when it's usually a little of this, a little of that!  We've gotten so used to this one in the morning I've been able to put actually put it into the blog.

#1-The Recipe!

This recipe is done first because it undoubtedly has the most calories and sugars (if there's any time during the day that it's best to consume the most calories, carbs and/or sugars, it's in the morning!) but of course these are natural, plant-based carbohydrates.  Don't discount those fruit sugars though!  They are still high in calories and if your child is at risk for being obese or has diabetes, tweak the recipe a bit to include lower-carbohydrate fruits.  This recipe includes low-carb fruits/vegetables as well as high, so it's decently-balanced, but as someone who tries to keep off weight, I'll put an asterisk next to the fruits that should be used in limited amounts to reduce carbohydrate-intake.  If your child is not at risk for obesity or has healthy blood sugar, don't worry about these fruits.  I've always been told if your child is getting healthy calories and isn't at risk for being overweight, don't count those silly little numbers!  Elias is certainly not in any danger of becoming a little husky, we have quite the opposite problem :P  It's in the genes.  I was wiry and short as a kid, my mother was wiry and short, and all the way to my great-great grandmother.  We're just a pack of short, skinnies until we hit our 30s.  You will know better than I do what your child should or shouldn't eat, so always take your motherly instincts into account when making recipes with your little girl or boy!

Morning Burst-o-Fruit

-1 medium-sized Gala, Braeburn, Jazz or any other crisp/sweet apple*
-5 ice cream scoops of fresh watermelon
-20 large, dark or black grapes (the darker the grape, the more polyphenols/phytonutrients, read "Drink a Rainbow" below for a link to why darker/more vibrant fruits/veggies are best!)*
-5 strawberries with tops sliced off
-Big 'ol fistful of baby spinach or baby kale (the "baby" varieties are sweeter/more tender)
-Large peeled, organic carrot (more on why organic carrots are important in an upcoming article)

Now you'd think that the order in which these go in isn't that important and while it's not essential that you follow this order, it does make it easier to get more juice because some of the fruits/vegetables clog the fine strainer inside the machine than others.  Also, getting juice from spinach is difficult unless you have what I call a "buffer fruit" on either side.  We start with the apple because these particular varieties of apples aren't very "mealy" so they tend to strain easily through the inner sieve; grapes come next because the skin --instead of clogging the strainer-- just falls into the back part of the juicer with other pulp discard.  Strawberries next because nearly all of the strawberry makes it into juice except, of course, the seeds.  Now, with the watermelon, we throw in 3 pieces but save two for the spinach.  After you've juiced the watermelon, place one piece of watermelon inside the chute then cram the fistful of spinach into the chute until tightly-packed, then place the second piece of watermelon on top.  Turn on the machine and use a tad bit more pressure to extract more juice instead of the spinach/kale leaves whiffing their way to the back of the machine instead! haha.  Again, this isn't totally necessary, but it does give you more juice from your spinach leaves.  Lastly comes the carrot which does surprisingly create a lot of pulp on the sieve and in the back chute of the juicer. You'll even see some more spinach juice come out!

It sounds horrible but it's really good.  Oh!  Here's a great tip --you know how on the infomercials the people just leave the machine on and keep throwing in fruits/vegetables?  Yeah, don't do that.  It won't mess up your machine, but it's not good for the machine's longevity and you'll probably get little spritzes here and there of juice to the face!  So here: turn off the machine between fruits and vegetables.  Plus, when your child is helping you make juice, he'll always get a pretty big kick out of turning the machine off and on for you!

Super-Cheap, Easy, & Fun way to get your kid to drink more juice

24 for $1?? What?! YAY-UH!
Well, it's "fun" for your child because anything made "kid size" is always more entertaining to them!  I'll tell you what I mean: You know those little plastic shot glasses you can find anywhere from Walmart to any $1 store?  Well they look like the picture and they're never usually more than $1.50.  Disposable, tiny, and you 
can find them in whatever color your child fancies the most!  Elias thinks it's funny to drink his juice by pouring numerous "shots" of his juice into his "baby cup" and drinking the whole thing that way.  This isn't an intro to college life, little ones just like things that make them feel big ie. tiny glasses :P

Crazy straws, funny-shaped ice cube trays, Luau cups, faux & real coconut cups, these are all things that will make your kid want to drink more "juicy" :)

Drink a rainbow!

Everyone knows it's healthier to eat darker, more vibrant fruits and veggies.  Read my article, The Rainbow Connection: A Nutritional Color Chart, about what certain colors in fruits and vegetables mean. ie. Orange: Generally means high in vitamin A & other carotenoids and vitamin C.  It's an easy-access, easy-to-understand chart to help you get the most out of shopping for fresh produce.  Bookmark it for your next grocery trip!

As always, just get your child involved in what you're doing!  If you keep your child out of the kitchen or stress that cooking/preparing food is a "mommy only" zone, the more likely your child will have issues with eating like being picky, not trying new foods, outright refusal to eat.  Having your child involved in safe grown-up activities boosts confidence and that confidence leads to independence and a desire to learn.  Letting your child do what mommy or daddy does lets him/her know you trust them enough to help and that's also a great way to bond.  Now I know it's difficult cleaning up a mess here and there --and if your child continuously or purposefully makes messes for you, maybe he/she just isn't ready yet-- but kids learn from making mistakes and I'll bet you after a couple of tiny spills (if you've got crazy reflexes like mine... That is the one thing I will brag about. I can catch a cup midway down to the floor!) your child will learn to stop them before they start :)  It's not all about juicing, but it's a darn-good start on the right track to learning-at-home and eating healthy!

Happy juicing, y'alls!

*These fruits are higher in carbohydrates/fruit sugars.  Use caution with children who are at risk for obesity or have blood sugar disorders like diabetes (hyperglycemia) or hypoglycemia.  If you have any worries about your child's weight or he/she is showing signs of low/high blood sugar, always consult your doctor.  I am not a doctor (clearly) but just a mommy enthusiastic about nutrition and food!
Most, if not all, new/better-quality juicers have safety features that make it impossible for your child to be hurt by the blades in the juicer. ALWAYS monitor your child when using electrical appliances.  It's not worth walking away for even a minute.

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