Juicing vs. blending for your kids

TAMPA - Juicing has become a common, quick and easy way for adults to get essential nutrients in their diets these days.  Now, some parents are asking, is the same safe for the kids?

Ellie Hirsch is a mother of three who says she's always looking for innovative ways to feed her three boys their fruits and vegetables.  Her go-to, a hodgepodge of foods together for a super blend.

"You'll be surprised because you cannot taste the vegetables," says Hirsch.  "If you put in an apple or a banana or a piece of pineapple to overcome the vegetable taste."

Hirsch says she used to use a juicer for her fruits and vegetables, but it was too messy and time consuming for a mom on the go.  In addition, she says she wasn't a big fan of having to peel the skins off the foods.

"It doesn't allow you to take advantage of the entire fruit of vegetable because it [juicing] leaves behind the pulp and you don't get the juice benefits from it," says Hirsch.

Pediatrician Christina Canody agrees. 

Dr. Canody says even though juicing seems to be a health craze right now, blending is better for children, especially those under age three, to get the necessary antioxidants and nutrients for their growth.

"You sort of get the fiber that comes from the pulp and the seeds and the plant," says Dr. Canody.  "You can add it as an extra snack during the day or a supplement but don't do it as a meal replacement."

A few tips when blending for your children/teens:

(1) Wash EVERYTHING thoroughly.  Even if the bag of broccoli or spinach, etc. says its 'ready to eat', you need to rinse with cold water.
(2) Add thick, leafy greens like kale and spinach kids are not always excited about eating by themselves.
(3) Store your blends in dark containers as to not lose the nutrients quickly.
(4) Be mindful of the length of time you store the blends.  The longer they sit in the fridge, the less dense the nutrient values become.

** ELLIE HIRSCH'S SUPER BLEND RECIPE  (great for after school snacks for kids)

1/2 cup water
1 cup green grapes
1/4 cup peeled  (or unpeeled) cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup kiwi (peeled)
1/2 medium apple
3/4 chopped fresh broccoli
1/2 inch thick lemon peeled, seeded
1/2 cup ice cubes

BLEND FOR 1 MINUTE

Makes 2 cups

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