Ace does not eat fruits. Or vegetables. It isn’t that he doesn’t like the flavor, he just can’t get over the texture. He was in feeding therapy for nearly a year, and by the end we still struggled to get him to take a single bite of watermelon. He will sometimes eat bananas (which aren’t “wet” feeling so he doesn’t struggle as much), and he will eat almost any fruit if it is freeze dried or made into leather. Blended up usually works too, but it has to be very finely blended (usually with a lot of water or almond milk). He will eat the first bite of many stone fruits, but as soon as the juice runs out he stops, so in most cases, fresh just doesn’t work for him. It has been frustrating for me, but I try to let it go. I will never win a food battle with a child with food sensory issues. Instead, we juice nearly every day to make sure he is getting some sort of nutrition from fruits and vegetables.

Fresh watermelon juice and lemonade, a gift for our neighbors who give us fruit from their citrus trees!
Fresh watermelon juice and lemonade, a gift for our neighbors who give us fruit from their citrus trees!

I have to admit, using the juicer so often is a pain. That thing is a beast to clean! But the cost benefit is worth the annoyance of the constant washing. At our local juice bar, an organic large pineapple/carrot is over $12 dollars. I can make that same thing at home for less than $5. I head to our bulk store once a week to pick up fruits and vegetables for juicing, and we also get a weekly farm delivery. When it is cooler out, we visit the farmer’s market each Saturday, so Ace gets to pick a variety of items and he is more likely to enjoy them.

Some of our favorite combinations have been accidentally discovered. Ace loves the juicer, and he often wants to throw whatever he sees in the fridge into it! We have discovered that a few grapes make any juice taste pretty good, even when it is stuffed with greens. Cucumber and orange (leaving a bit of the rind for extra orange flavor) is delicious too! My favorite is lemon, celery, pineapple, carrot, and Ace begs for just plain watermelon juice a few times a week. While green juice is a little scary for some, if you call it dinosaur juice or monster juice, you might just get your kid to take a sip.

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If you are looking to buy a juicer, I recommend skipping the ultra inexpensive options and going for something a little bit nicer on this gadget. I went through two cheap juicers (before Ace was born) that either couldn’t get through some harder vegetables, or they wasted so much of the fruit that I was frustrated. We finally did a bit of research and landed on the Breville Juicers. I have a Breville Juice Fountain and love it! It has been going strong for four years now.

One thing I have been asked before is about all of the waste that comes with juicing, and it is a valid question. If I didn’t have a terribly picky kid, I likely wouldn’t break out the juicer quite so often. However, since I do, I have found a few ways to use up more of the pulp. To have less waste, I always juice the vegetables first. Then I grab the pulp and put it into my freezer bag for vegetable broth making. Once the bag is full, I simmer a large pot full of the pulp and other veggie scraps (save them all!) and have a lovely broth to be used as the base of soups, rice, etc. After I juice the fruit, that pulp goes into an ice cube tray. I add water to some, to use as a flavored ice cube for drinks. To others, I add almond milk, and use them as smoothie cubes. Pop a few into the blender with a banana and some milk or juice, and you get the fiber and flavor from the previously juiced fruit.

Do you juice at home for your family? I would love to hear about any fun juice combinations you enjoy!