MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, CBS
Rachel holds a Master’s in Nutrition Communication from Tufts University and is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She works as a nutrition and wellness coach with focuses on infant and maternal nutrition, and mindful eating.
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Juicing is the process of extracting the juices, along with
most vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, from fresh vegetables and fruit and
enjoying it as a drink. While juicing has increased in popularity the last few
years, there is still discussion around whether it is a healthy addition to the
diet. One side argues that juicing takes
out too many nutrients and fiber, and is too high in sugar; while the other
side maintains that juicing is a great way to increase your nutrient intake.
Americans take in an average of 1 cup fruit per day and less
than 1.5 cups vegetables; well below the recommended 1.2 to 2 cups fruit and 2
to 3 cups vegetables per day. Moreover, this is a 7% decline in consumption of
fruits and vegetables between 2004 and 2014.
It’s important to get the majority of your vegetables and
fruit in the whole form. Yet if you feel your or your children’s produce intake
is lacking, juicing correctly and in addition to a well-balanced diet can be a
convenient way to include more nutrients in your daily eating pattern.
Let’s take a closer look at sugar, fiber, and nutrient
content; as well as safety concerns.
To help lower the amount of natural sugar in juices, make or choose juices that contain mostly vegetables. While freshly-made juices still contain sugar, it is naturally occuring sugar from the produce used, which also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
If you do want to purchase store bought juice, look for one that is 100% juice, is made mostly of vegetables and does not have added sodium
Smoothies are a good way to keep all nutrients and fiber in your drink. Even with smoothies, try to include veggies – such as baby spinach, kale, or even canned pumpkin puree – to help boost the nutrient profile and fiber content.
Instead, if you choose to consume juices add them to your diet as a snack or part of a meal for enhanced nutrient intake.
Food Safety and Juicing
In conclusion, juicing can be part of a well-balanced,
healthy diet. It can be a way to increase our total vegetable and fruit intake,
and while focusing on whole produce is important, occasionally including
blended and juiced produce can add variety.
Fresh juices can be one way to get more produce into your diet. However, keep in mind that water is best for hydration, so be sure to meet your needs!
Wash all produce and equipment before and after use to help avoid and reduce food-borne bacteria in your juice. Keep juices in the refrigerator or cooler with ice packs until you are ready to drink, and drink the juice within 24 to 48 hours.
Store bought juices can be high in added sugar and may have minimal nutrients compared to a fresh-made juice. Look for – or make – juices that are mostly vegetable.
Juice diets do not provide all the nutrients our body needs. Having juice as a snack or part of a meal can be a great way to boost nutrient intake. Also be sure to have most of your produce be from whole raw or cooked vegetables and fruit!
Note: While giving your child some freshly-made vegetable and fruit juice can be part of a healthy diet, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 4 oz per day of 100% juice, and to concentrate more on whole produce in your child’s diet. (Read Alternatives to Naturally and Artificially sweetened beverages and juices for more information).
“State of the Plate.” Produce for Better Health Foundation, date accessed 1 August 2018.
“American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends No Fruit Juice For Children Under 1 Year.” American Academy of Pediatrics, date accessed 1 August 2018.
“Juicing 101: Nutrition Tips For Consumers.” Nutrition.gov, date accessed 1 August 2018.
“Carbohydrates.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, date accessed 1 August 2018. <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/>
“Juicing, Fad or Fab?” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, date accessed 1 August 2018. <https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/juicing-fad-or-fab>