Healthy Juices For Kids: 12 Easy Homemade Juice Recipes

Healthy Juices For Kids

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Beverages, like fruit and vegetable juices, are a source of hydration and essential nutrients for children. They are readily available over the counter, or you can prepare them at home. In either case, excess juice consumption needs a check to alleviate adverse effects, such as obesity and tooth decay (1).

In this post, we tell you about healthy juices for children and some delectable juice recipes to try.

Are Juices Healthy For Children?

Water is the best liquid to keep kids hydrated. Juices are a lovely treat in appropriate portions from time to time. But as a routine, it is better for children to eat whole fresh fruit and vegetables.

Store-bought juices are available in different forms, like 100% juice, concentrated, and diluted juice. Out of these, moderate consumption of 100% fruit juice as part of a healthy diet may provide children with nutrients, without contributing to weight gain (2).

But many shop bought ones add extra sugar (or other ingredients) so it’s important to check the label.

Juices may be useful in the following ways.

  1. Juices can work as a medium to encourage children to eat whole fruit and vegetables.
  2. Moderate consumption of fruit juices can provide flavonoids that possess antioxidant properties with long term health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health (3) (4).
  3. Juices contain polyphenols, oligosaccharides, and nitrates that may work as prebiotics good for gut health (5).
  4. Unsweetened homemade juices with fiber can be a better snack alternative to soda and other high-sugar beverages. But remember whole fresh fruits and vegetables are always a better choice.

How Much Juice Can Children Have?

According to the USDA, unsweetened 100% juices are a part of the fruit and vegetable group. Juice should contribute to half or less than half of the total recommended fruit and vegetable intake for the day (6).

Below is the age-appropriate recommendation for fruit juice intake for children (7). However, remember that juices are not a daily necessity if the child enjoys daily their quota of fruits and vegetables.

Age (years)Recommended Daily Serving
4 to 6½ to ¾ of a cup or 6 ounces
7 to 181 cup or 8 ounces

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics 

Tips To Select Healthy Juices For Children

Selecting healthier options of juices is necessary to enjoy their benefits. Consider these points while buying fruit or vegetable juice for children.

  1. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), a product is labeled “fruit juice” and “vegetable juice” when the contents are 100% sourced from fruits and vegetables, respectively (8). These juices do not contain any additives, including preservatives.
  2. 100% fruit or vegetable juice with additives is mentioned on the label. For instance, 100% fruit juice with sugar is mentioned as “100% fruit juice with added sugar/sweetener.” Similarly, 100% fruit juices with preservatives state, “100% fruit juice with preservatives.”
  3. Some manufacturers make 100% fruit juice by adding water to fruit juice concentrates (9). These juices are called “reconstituted 100% fruit juices.”
  4. Check the list of ingredients along with the nutritional information to know about the ingredients, along with the number of nutrients per serving.
  5. Give preference to “100% fruit and vegetable juice,” which does not contain added sugar. Added sugars, such as fructose and corn syrup, can increase the risk of tooth decay, weight gain, and high blood pressure (10). Long-term consumption of sweetened juice could increase the risk of childhood obesity.
  6. Opt for juices with low sodium content since high sodium intake is associated with higher blood pressure.
  7. Vegetable juices contain less natural sugar than fruit juice. Thus, prefer mixed fruit and vegetable juice for optimum nutrition.

Try to make juices at home instead of buying the packaged versions. They are fresh, and you have control over what goes into them.

12 Healthy And Delectable Juice Recipes For Children

Making juice at home lets you have control over the ingredients. Besides, it can reduce the ingestion of unwanted additives, preservatives, and sweeteners. Thoroughly wash the fruits and vegetables under running water before preparing juice to prevent the risk of foodborne illnesses (11).

Here are some interesting juice recipes you can try for your child.

1. Apple lemonade

Apple lemonade

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An easy-to-prepare, refreshing, and nourishing variety of lemonade suitable to beat the heat.

You will need:

  • 1 cup apple (peeled, cored, and sliced)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice

How to:

  1. Prepare apple juice and add lemon juice to it.
  2. Refrigerate for ten minutes and serve chilled.
  3. You can add some crushed mint leaves and a pinch of cinnamon to enhance palatability.

2. Pineapple and kale juice

Pineapple and kale juice

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This hydrating, nutrient-rich, and tasty juice recipe is suitable for children of any age.

You will need:

  • 100g fresh kale (chopped)
  • 1 cup pineapple (chopped)
  • Water

How to:

  1. Juice the ingredients well until you get a smooth liquid.
  2. Serve fresh, or you can refrigerate it for five minutes.
  3. You can add chia seeds to improve the overall nutritional value of the recipe.

3. Carrot and orange juice

Carrot and orange juice

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The juice contains vitamin C and fiber, thus making it one of the most nourishing juices for children.

You will need:

  • 2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 orange (peeled and deseeded)

How to:

  1. Juice the ingredients until you observe a semi-thick liquid.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate for five minutes.
  3. You can add a pinch of cinnamon or mint leaves before serving to boost the recipe’s flavor.

4. Apple, sweet potato, and carrot juice

Apple, sweet potato, and carrot juice

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The satiating homemade juice recipe is rich in nutrients and fiber. Serve it to alleviate hunger pangs and maintain a healthy digestive system.

You will need:

  • 1 apple (cored, peeled, and chopped)
  • 1 sweet potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and chopped)

How to:

  1. Juice all the ingredients into a creamy consistency.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate for no more than a day.

5. Mixed berry splash

Mixed berry splash

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The antioxidant and iron-rich juice is beneficial for the immune system.

You will need:

  • 1 cup mixed berries (strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry)
  • 1 cup watermelon (deseeded and chopped)

How to:

  1. Put all the fruits in a blender and blend into a smooth juice.
  2. Serve immediately or store it in the refrigerator for a day or two.
  3. You can add a cup of Greek yogurt, a handful of nuts, and a teaspoon of chia seeds to turn this recipe into a healthy smoothie.

6. Beetroot and apple juice

Beetroot and apple juice

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Beetroot is rich in phytonutrients, such as betalains, flavonoids, and polyphenols that have health-promoting properties (12).

You will need:

  • 1 apple (cored, peeled, and chopped)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ beetroot (peeled and chopped)

How to:

  1. Juice all the ingredients into a semi-thick juice. If the juice looks too thick, add water to adjust consistency.
  2. Refrigerate the juice for ten minutes before serving it. You may store the juice for up to two days.

7. Minty berry juice

Minty berry juice

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It is one of the most nourishing and immune-boosting juices for children across ages.

You will need:

  • 1 apple (cored, peeled, and diced)
  • 1 kiwi (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cup mixed berries (blueberries and strawberries)
  • 4-5 mint leaves

How to:

  1. Juice apple, kiwi, and berries into a semi-thick liquid.
  2. Add mint leaves and refrigerate for ten minutes.
  3. Serve with a midday snack, like a vegetable sandwich.

8. Green juice

Green juice

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This lip-smacking juice is a hydrating and nutrient-rich combination of spinach, cucumber, grapes, and orange.

You will need:

  • 1 cup spinach leaves (chopped)
  • 1 cup cucumber (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 orange (peeled and deseeded)
  • 1tsp ginger juice
  • Pinch of cinnamon

How to:

  1. Juice spinach leaves, cucumber, grapes, and orange into a semi-thick liquid.
  2. Add ginger juice and cinnamon just before serving.
  3. Serve with any grilled main dish of your choice.

9. Tropical twist

Tropical twist

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The energy-rich tropical juice has tangy-sweet flavors.

You will need:

  • 1 cup pineapple (chopped)
  • 1 cup carrot (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cup apple (peeled, cored, and chopped)
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • ½tsp ginger juice

How to:

  1. Juice all the vegetables into a thin-liquid. If needed, add water to adjust consistency.
  2. Add lemon and ginger juice and serve immediately.
  3. You can also add some mint leaves.

10. Tangy tomato juice

Tangy tomato juice

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It is a tangy-flavored, immune-boosting, and detoxifying juice recipe for children.

You will need:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes (cored and chopped)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped)
  • ¼tsp black pepper powder

 How to:

  1. Juice tomatoes, carrot, and celery into a smooth-flowing juice.
  2. Add black pepper and serve immediately.

11. Fennel and blueberry juice

Fennel and blueberry juice

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The delectable summer drink has immune-boosting properties. Replace fennel with mint if your child dislikes fennel’s strong flavor.

You will need:

  • 1 fennel bulb (chopped)
  • 1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 50g blueberries (frozen)
  • 1tsp lemon juice

How to:

  1. Juice fennel bulb, apple, and blueberries into a smooth liquid.
  2. Add lemon juice, mix well, and serve immediately.

12. Honeydew melon juice

Honeydew melon juice

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It is one of the best juice recipes to hydrate, nourish, and satiate your child.

You will need:

  • 2 cup honeydew melon (deseeded and chopped)
  • 1 cup cucumber (peeled and sliced)
  • 1tbsp lime zest

How to:

  1. Juice melon and cucumber into a smooth liquid.
  2. Add lime zest, mix well, and serve immediately.
  3. Alternatively, you can add a few mint leaves and refrigerate the juice before serving.

Precautions To Take While Giving Juice To Children

Observing some precautionary steps can help the child avoid the adverse effects and get the most out of juices (13) (14) (15).

  1. Purchase only pasteurized or shelf-stable 100% fruit or vegetable juices to avoid foodborne illnesses.
  2. Avoid feeding unpasteurized juices produced at a farm, to young children.
  3. Serve juice with meals and not between meals. Serving juice between meals may increase the risk of tooth decay.
  4. Do not serve juice as a replacement for water, milk, or other healthy beverages.
  5. Spread the recommended daily serving of fruit juice across all the meals.
  6. Avoid serving juice in bottles and sippy cups as sipping juices for a long period contributes to tooth decay in young children.
  7. Use properly cleaned utensils and juicer/ blender to prepare juices at home.
  8. Wash vegetables and fruits properly and discard parts or produce that looks damaged, bruised, or rotten.
  9. Before and after preparation, wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  10. Do not strain the juice as retaining the pulp ensures enhanced fiber intake.
  11. You can add a pinch of sugar or salt to homemade juice for taste. Avoid adding any salt or sugar to packaged 100% fruit juices.
  12. Do not give fruit juice to young children around bedtime as it might cause digestive issues, like indigestion, gas, and diarrhea.

Let your child enjoy their benefits as part of a well-balanced diet. Guide your child to question nutrition facts and then make a choice. Involve them in juice preparation at home to teach them the importance of healthy dietary choices.

References:

 

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