Friday, July 1, 2011

Dusting off the juicer

I love this time of year for 1 big reason, and no, it’s not that the kids are out of school. Does that make me a bad mom? No way! Any autism mom would likely agree that summer is the most stressful time of year because our kids crave routine. For me, the best part about summer is the fact that lots of fabulous produce becomes available.
Here is one of my bowls of harvested spinach.
Many of the leaves are larger than a slice of bread!
I love watching beautiful, organic veggies grow in my garden. In fact, I’ve already harvested several huge bowls of spinach in the past couple of weeks! It’s so much fun to plan the garden and plant my seeds in the spring, knowing that there will be some great things to eat in the coming months.
And, I adore going to our local organic farms and also perusing the wonderful farmers markets to buy gorgeous fruits and vegetables that are far superior to anything I could get at the grocery store. The visual variety alone makes it worth each trip. I fill up my reusable bags with goodies each time I go.
I try to engage my children fully in the process of picking out things to buy at the farmers market. I know that by doing so, they are more likely to at least try a bite of something new because they picked it out themselves. Sometimes they even help me pay and carry the bag while we continue shopping. If they are particularly proud of their efforts, they may also carry the items on their lap as we travel back home in the car.
Even if after all of their participation they somehow take issue with eating the vegetable, they still "eat" it. Oh yes, I see to that! I’m a mean sneaky mom that way.
This is where the magic of the juicer comes in. You may recall that I wrote a post back in January about how to hide vitamins by doing things like juicing. The juicer is a wonderful tool for any parent! In that post I talk about how I make juices like “Silly Strawberry,” which is comprised of kale (or spinach) and strawberries. In fact, I have some organic Italian kale and organic strawberries in my fridge right now that I plan to use for this very juice. Kale is chock full of essential nutrients like: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium, just to name a few.
As long as there is a strong berry or fruit flavor, the “yucky” veggie is effectively masked. You might have to be sly and make the green portion of the juice when your kid is not watching and then serve it in a colored or ceramic cup (with a sippy-style lid or opaque straw). You can add in a reward system to help them drink the new concoctions, too. It worked great for us!
It makes me happy to know that my boys will be getting fresh and organic juice, full of absorbable vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. This stuff is a far cry from the dead sugar water (a.k.a. pasteurized juice) that we buy in the store! It’s time to dust off the juicer and put it in position for heavy use this summer!
Do you juice? What is your favorite juice to give to your children?    
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