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Sneak More Fruits and Vegetables into your Day!

Updated on August 23, 2013

Do you think you could use more vegetables in your daily diet?

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How often do we all tell ourselves that we really need to start getting a few more fruits and vegetables into our diet? We may even smugly put fresh vegetables into our shopping cart (next to the corn chips) with good intentions, only to see them wilting in the back of the veggie drawer a week later. I know this has been the case for me over the years! And as a mom, I've been involved in the age-old struggle of trying to get my kids to eat all the vegetables on their dinner plate. Not always easy!
Perhaps you even still harbor your own memories of having to sit at the table alone after dinner until you "ate every last brussel sprout on your plate!"

Although, like most people, I really tried to eat vegetables on a regular basis and make sure my family did, too. But I recently realized that most of us don't get nearly enough of these little nutritional gems into our diets. I was doing a little reading up on the subject and found that most polls show that less than 30% of Americans don't meet their daily requirements of vegetables. Fruit intake, while just slightly more, doesn't fare that much better. I quickly realized this was the case with our family. No, we weren't eating at McDonald's every night, but I had actually felt I had done my duty if I made sure we all had a carrot stick on a given day. Hmmm....

When I began doing research on just how much fruits and vegetables benefited us, I became more keenly aware that my family needed to "up the anty" when it came to our intake. But how? What can I do to ensure that my whole family gets more of those incredible nutrients into our systems that can help prevent countless diseases and health problems, while going about our sometimes very busy days?

One day, I dusted off the old juicer that I had used off and on over the years (mostly off) and then...I used it again. And again. About a week later, I watched the documentary, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" which totally confirmed my rediscovered interest, and I was off and running!

Right now, we are using a juicer we purchased ten years ago, because of age and wear and tear, is a bit more challenging to work. It also is a centrifugal, which means it sends out mulch to the back container. Personally, I prefer the masticating juicer, which using a single gear (or sometimes twin gears) breaks up the cells of the produce at a slower rate, thereby producing a higher quality juice. Most also leave a pulp, but it is usually much drier due to the large amount of juice they are able to extract.

We are going to be purchasing one of these as soon as finances allow. In the meantime, it is definitely better than not juicing at all. I try to juice- at the very least- several times a week. If I'm really on the ball- every day!

What about the kids? Well, mine definitely have an infamous sweet tooth, so making juice with a lot more fruit than veggies - at least at first- has worked best. I've been trying to slowly wean them towards more veggies by adding a little more over time. One of our favorite kid-friendly juice recipe is simply three carrots, (or two carrots and one celery stem) two apples and an orange. (Making two small servings.)

Note: If you have children 12 and under, go easy on the amount. If you have very young children, consider diluting with water.

This summer, we have had an over-abundance of kale. I had only recently learned about its incredible health benefits so I usually throw some into the juicer for all of us, as well. But beware- if you have a centrifugal juicer as I do, a lot of the leaves of this (as well as with spinach) gets thrown into the back and never used. To remedy this, I also try to sneak green leafy vegetables another way....in smoothies!

I've found that smoothies are a delicious way to get those fruits and vegetables in (especially when it comes to my children!) There are so many recipes out there but I usually make mine up as I go. One of the most common smoothies I make consists of a little yogurt (perhaps about 6 oz) a little milk (sometimes almond milk or coconut milk) frozen blueberries, small banana and kale. This is SO healthy and scrumptious!
Just as with juicing and kids, I try to go easier on the kale and increase it as time goes on. But kale is a powerhouse of antioxidants and nutrition, and putting it in a smoothie is one great way to help improve our kids' health AND put a smile on their faces at the same time! And by putting kale (or other leafy greens) into a blender, they're actually getting the entire vegetable, not just part.
Sometimes I have heard the suspicious question from one of my kids, "Why is this smoothie GREEN?" But after they are convinced to take a sip, it's usually met with a "Mmmm!"

What is the difference between juicing and blending, you ask? Well, partly that depends on the kind of juicer vs. the kind of blender.
Basically, though, with a blender, you can add dairy products or other ingredients that you might not be able to juice properly. However, many blenders simply don't have the power to juice heavy-duty fruits and vegetables. I know mine doesn't. However, they can usually take on those leafy greens.
Juicers come in many forms, but as I mentioned before, come in two basic types of machines- centrifugal or masticating. Although I definitely would prefer a masticating style, centrifugal juicers are still extremely beneficial, somewhat less expensive and sometimes a bit quicker. Both are usually very adept at juicing most fruits and vegetables, but the masticating juicer is better with leafy greens.

Why not just simply try to eat more fruit and vegetables? Actually, eating more is certainly a good thing. But let's face it, even we mature adults who actually like the taste of most vegetables aren't going to consume as much as we would by juicing. Plus, many juicers break down the cells in such a way that they bring out the very best in the produce for optimum health. When we eat fruits and vegetables, much of the important nutrients are lost in the fiber that get expelled from our system. However, juicing can extract those nutrients into the juice with quick access to our bloodstreams. (I have personally felt the effects of this since I usually feel instantly energized after drinking healthy juice.)

I know my husband and I have each noticed a difference in our energy levels and I think it may even help us to look a bit younger, too!

So, if you're like me and have an old juicer still in working order in the back of your cupboard, my suggestion would be to dust it off and start juicing again. Or, go comparison shopping for a new one! But even using the blender can be a good start toward better nutrition for your family.

And who knows? It may even put an end to watching your kids slipping the dog those brussel sprouts under the table.

Fast Facts

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, natural plant chemicals that may help prevent and even cure certain diseases.
  • Raw vegetables and fruits are rich in important enzymes, which may decrease or even be eliminated during the process of cooking.
  • Many fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins such as C, E, A and B vitamins as well as essential minerals.
  • Juicing helps to extract important nutrients from the fiber that may otherwise be expelled from our bodies

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    • Dr Fary profile image

      Dr Fary 3 years ago

      I am advised to increase the amount of fresh vegetables in my diet. I usually forget to add enough amounts though. Thanks for this nice reminder.

    • Schoolmom24 profile image
      Author

      Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

      Dr. Fary, thanks so much for stopping by at my very first hub! You are welcome...I honestly don't think there are many of us who shouldn't increase our vegetable intake a bit! For me, juicing really helps to do that. :)

    • JanMaklak profile image

      JanMaklak 3 years ago from Canada

      We bought a centrifugal juicer from Hamilton Beach recently and I really like it. Yes I do think there is some waste with this juicer but the masticating juicers are several hundred dollars. We often use kale in this house in the juicer as well as ginger for flavour and I find that apples if very ripe and straight off the tree have an unbelievably good flavour.

      Juicing can be less expensive than the typical north american diet and much healthier. Great hub and voted up

    • Schoolmom24 profile image
      Author

      Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks for your comment, JanMaklak! I know...masticating juicers are usually more expensive. One juicer I'm considering is the Nutribullet which claims to send nothing out and uses centrifugal force, I believe, to extract the maximum nutrients. That one is only $100 or less.

      And I agree...juicing can be less expensive than some of the junk food out there...and if it helps prevent illnesses, ect. and keeps us with less medical bills- even more savings! :) Thanks again for the kind words!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Welcome Schoolmom24 to hubpages! Thank you for the reminder. We all need to eat our veggies. I have never juiced and have been talking about it more recently so I appreciate the tips.

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK

      Firstly, welcome to HubPages! Secondly, thanks for a great read on a subject very close to my heart! Voted up and shared to Pinterest.

    • Schoolmom24 profile image
      Author

      Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you so much, Alison! :)

    • laurathegentleman profile image

      laurathegentleman 3 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      I want a juicer with a passion!! I love fruits and vegetables, but I often get sidetracked by sweeter, less healthy options. (I'm mid-walk to the fridge for an apple, but then I notice the plate of cookies on my counter... It gets me every time!)

      What a great and helpful Hub! Welcome to HubPages :)

    • Schoolmom24 profile image
      Author

      Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

      I hope you can get a juicer soon! And I know what you mean about getting sidetracked! Thank you for stopping by and commenting! :)

    • AlisonRuth profile image

      Alison 3 years ago from USA

      Nice article ... I get enough on the veggie front it is the fruit I need work on. I tried fruit smoothies in the past and found I gained weight? It was just fruit scouts honor no ice cream thrown in. I think with what you have here I will give it another go. Maybe my son will finally like the smoothies. I have tried every sneaky trick to get him to eat veggies and fruit and haven't find that magic thing yet. Kid just knows it is in the food some how.

      Thanks for following me back I look forward to reading more.

    • Schoolmom24 profile image
      Author

      Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

      Alison, smoothies can be a little on the fattening side sometimes but I still love them as a pick me up late morning or afternoon, especially if I've had a work out or a long walk. But I think they're especially good for kids when we can sneak those greens in them! ;) Maybe try non fat yogurt, and coconut water instead of milk, mixed with the fruit...(in fact, that sounds like the way I should make it a little more often!)

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I appreciate it! :)

    • sminut13 profile image

      sminut13 3 years ago from singapore

      welcome to hubpages and thank you for such an interesting and informative hub. i have to admit that i personally am low on veggies and fruits, not to mention my kids. i have thought about juicing fruits and vegetables but my kids are very picky and i also blame my lazy nature as well. but i'm going to have to take your tip and dust off my blender and try juicing fruits first, and we'll go from there. thanks so much, and enjoy your stay here.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for clearly explaining how juicing and blending differ - I don't do much of either one but they do sound interesting!

    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Great information. I always add spinach to my smoothies and my kids love them!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have an old juicer of my brothers that has not been used in years. I think that I will dust it off and start using it after reading this even though we do make smoothies with our blender and like eating vegetables. Consuming more via juicing certainly can't hurt! Welcome to HubPages! Going to tweet, pin and share this hub with my followers.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

      I think I could definitley do with more fruits and veggies and I've heard good things about juicing. Would love to see some of your recipes! Maybe that would make a good hub! Welcome and hope you enjoy HubPages!

    • Jenna Pope profile image

      Jenna Pope 3 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for posting your well-written article. We never know enough about good nutrition!

    • Schoolmom24 profile image
      Author

      Schoolmom24 3 years ago from Oregon

      Peggy, yes, juicing really not only sneaks more in but gives the benefit of the extraction, making it more beneficial. Thanks so much for sharing and pinning- so appreciated! :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      A nice case for juicing fruits and vegetables. Thanks.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I have a bag of oranges that I need to juice right now. Perhaps I will do that in the morning!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Your photos look very inviting and I have pinned this article to my 'Drinks' board.

      I personally like the pulp in fruits most of the time and reading this gave me the idea that a nice thick fruit and/or vegetable blend would go well in a bread pudding, cake, or sweet bread.

      Yes, my father made me sit for hours many mornings because I wouldn't eat the oatmeal or cream of wheat at breakfast. I pretty much hate breakfast no matter what is served. I even threw up and gagged and choked on the oatmeal/cream of wheat, but I still had to eat it. As a result, I refuse to even have that stuff in my home. Dry oatmeal is OK for making cookies or crumbled toppings, but otherwise no.

      I think forcing a child to eat something they detest that much not only guarantees they will hate it forever, but it's also borderline child abuse.

      Voted this article up, useful, beautiful, interesting, and will share!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I've been intending to get a juicer. You've convinced me! Thanks for sharing such great info!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

      Right now I'm re-using my old blender to make smoothies. Juicer is interesting, I may get that one soon. So far, with the blender, I make my smoothies with all the fruits' natural fibers present. Thanks for the wonderful information -- may this be an inspiration to others.

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