Is juice good for kids?

International guru Jason Vale gives us the juicy gossip

Interview, Health
Interview, Health

Why is it important for children to have fresh juices rather than juice concentrates?
Bottled juices that you find in the shops have been pasteurised by law to be in the bottle. With pasteurisation you not only destroy most of the nutrients, you also change the molecular structure of the sugars. Natural, raw fruit sugars are more readily broken down by digestive enzymes and when you drink them raw they are easily broken down by the body. Artificial, refined or even pasteurized sugars have a much higher negative effect on the blood stream, so always keep your sugars from raw fruits and vegetables.

We’ve heard beetroot is a total superfood – how can we make it more palatable for kids?
If you can get kids young enough, say two to three years old, and you get them involved in the fun part of juicing, they are more likely to try different flavours and like the juices that you make. The key with juicing really is mixing in about 50 per cent apple or pineapple for children so they love the taste, then you can put all sorts of vegetables in there, from spinach, broccoli and cucumbers to beetroot. I would also recommend naming them after their favourite TV characters like ‘Shrek’ juice, so they link them to something they already love. It is not just beetroot that is a ‘superfood’ – it’s every single fruit and vegetable designed for human consumption.

Are there any juices we should avoid slurping too much of in case of tummy upsets or tooth decay, for example?
I am a big advocate of vegetable juices mixed with some apple, as too much fruit juice, even freshly made, can cause a few issues. However, to get around these simply drink your juice slowly, and if you are concerned about any damage to teeth you can either drink through a straw, or don’t brush your teeth for about 30 minutes after your juice. Brushing teeth directly afterwards will brush away the protection and cause problems.

Can too much carrot juice really turn you orange?
I once lived on nothing but juice for 90 days and due to the amount of carrot juice I was drinking, yes I did turn orange! However, you will need to drink about five litres a day for this to happen, something few people will ever do.

Are there any juices that are really fattening?
No. I run retreats where people live on nothing but juice and everyone loses weight. The only time juices can contribute to weight gain is if someone drinks them on top of a meal, when they are not hungry and if they have loads of fruit juice smoothies, not juices. Smoothies are where you put the whole fruit in a blender and mix with some juice. This can lead to people gulping down say three bananas at once, something the body was never designed to do! Once again, stick to vegetable juices, mixed with a little apple or pineapple.

Are there any juices you should avoid if you are pregnant?
Virtually all fruits and vegetables contain folic acid, essential during pregnancy. Quality is important here. I would go organic if at all possible and stick to mainly vegetable juices as they are more mineral-rich than fruits. Always consult your GP as some juices can interfere with some medications.

Can you store squeezed juices for a couple of days in the fridge? Or do you have to drink them fresh?
I personally always make it as I need it. With something like the Philips Avance juicer, it takes seconds to make a juice fresh.

What’s your favourite juicy combo and why?
One of my favourite recipes I advise people to start with first, the Sherbet Lemonade. It is simply two golden delicious apples, and one third of a lemon with rind on. It tastes exactly like a popular sugary sherbet treat for children, but obviously without all the refined sugar. It’s loaded with vitamins, and even apples alone contain vitamins A, B, B1, B2, C – they’re packed with goodness. Did I say it also tastes delicious? It will definitely convert any juice sceptic into a juice fan for life.
The Philips Avance juicer costs Dhs899 from all major retailers.

Get fruity

We test-drove the new Philips Avance Juicer to see if it really was as fuss-free and easy to clean as they claim….
Having had juicers in the past that were fiddly and messy (and didn’t even make great juice), we had mixed feelings about trying out the Avance. The kids, however, had no such qualms and were waving armfuls of apples at me before I’d had a chance to take it out of the box. On the large side, it’s a doddle to assemble with everything just slotting into place, then it’s just a case of switching it on and putting the fruit through the opening at the top (which is large enough to fit an uncut apple). In fact, it’s so little effort, even my two-year-old son could easily press through harder fruit and veg like pineapple and beetroot. It’s loud, but not unbearable, and so quick that you’ve got enough juice for the family in less than a minute anyway.

To wash it all, it’s just a case of removing the pulp from the collector, and giving the parts a swish round in some soapy water – job done!

But surely the proof is in the tasting (we had apple, pineapple and ginger on our first attempt): smooth, no bits and plenty of it. And, you can use the jug to remove the foam at the top of the juice if it’s not to your taste. In short – a big thumbs up from us! (CG)

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