When you can’t get your kids to eat vegetables, it makes sense to encourage them to drink them instead. Right?
That’s what Juicy Juice wants you to believe. The Harvest Surprise website says:
“Harvest Surprise is loaded with fruits and veggies like grapes, carrots, passionfruit, sweet potatoes and apples to create 2 fun flavors kids will love.”
Giving your kids veggie-spiked fruit juice won’t give your kids any of the benefits of eating vegetables AND it will make teaching them to eat real vegetables even harder.
First the nutrition:
1) The carrot in Harvest Surprise Grape Juice doesn’t provide much of a nutritional boost (and this flavor contains no sweet potato). This drink is primarily not-so-great-for-you grape juice. It doesn’t even stack up well next to Juicy Juice’s own regular grape juice.
Look at this comparison (8 ounces each):
- Harvest Surprise Grape: 120
- Juicy Juice Grape: 80
- Harvest Surprise Grape: 80mg
- Juicy Juice Grape: 20mg
- Harvest Surprise Grape: 27g
- Juicy Juice Grape: 20g
2) The only nutritional benefit of the veggie concoction is a modest amount of three things: Vitamin A, calcium and iron.
- The calcium and iron don’t come from the carrot, they’re added.
- The Vitamin A in the juice is small potatoes compared to an actual carrot.
- 8 ounces Harvest Surprise Grape supplies 10% of your daily requirement whereas 1 carrot gives you more than 200%.
- The carrot contains fiber. The juice does not.
3) Your kids will have to drink 8 ounces of the juice to get the “benefits,” but most pediatricians and nutritionists recommend children drink no more than 4 ounces of juice per day.
Now the habits:
1) Vegetables (and I’m reluctant to lump them all together here because they’re all so different) have a unique set of tastes, texture, appearances and aromas. If you want your kids to eat (and like) vegetables, they have to be exposed to them repeatedly. Hiding them in juice doesn’t accomplish this.
2) Most kids actually like real carrots so you don’t need to slip them into a drink to get them eat them. What’s more, if your kids start associating carrots with a sweet slurp they’ll reject the crunchy chew.
3) Giving your kids lots of juice, even if it were healthy juice, only fosters a juice-drinking (and eventually a soda-drinking) habit. Read more about juice.
4) If you give your kids something that passes for vegetables, how likely are you to work at getting your kids to eat actual vegetables? Not much.
If you want your children to drink their veggies, then give them vegetables soup.
1) There are plenty of good-for-you soups on the market, so you’ll be trading-up nutritionally.
Canned soups are notorious for being a huge source of sodium. But the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently reviewed brand name soups and found many to recommend. Look for products that are low sodium.
2) Giving kids vegetable soup teaches them to eat vegetables. Not only are there usually chunks of the real deal in the soup, but also, vegetable soup is thought of as food made from vegetables. And what your kids think really matters.
The added bonus is the research shows people find soup really satisfying to eat, and adding soup to a meal makes people less likely to overeat. That’s a habit to celebrate.
~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~
Sources: http://www.juicyjuice.com/products/Harvest-Surprise.aspx, accessed January 28, 2010; Center for Science in the Public Interest. “The Souper Bowl: Competition for Soup Sales Heats Up.” Nutrition Action Healthletter. January/February, 2010. pp. 13-15.