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Maximizing Children’s Nutrition with Juice Plus+
As every parent knows, it can be difficult to get kids to eat a healthy diet, especially when it comes to consuming enough vegetables. (Having just completed the adoption of a toddler, I am now intimately familiar with this fact!)
The newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans confirm what we all know. According to data gathered by the federal government, no age group of children eats enough vegetables. However, "vegetable consumption relative to recommendations is lowest among boys ages 9 to 13 years and girls ages 14 to 18 years."
This means boys and girls in these age groups are missing out on the health benefits of regular vegetable consumption, just at an age when their growing bodies need good nutrition to develop properly. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control reports that many American children and adolescents — over a third — are overweight.
Luckily, Juice Plus+ has good news about nutrition for overweight boys. According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, taking Juice Plus+ capsules can help improve children’s metabolism. Thirty prepubescent boys aged 6 to 10 took either Juice Plus+ capsules or a placebo for six months. (Nine were normal weight and 21 were carrying a few too many pounds.) All of the children received nutritional counseling.
When compared with the group who took the placebo, the group who took Juice Plus+ showed raised beta-carotene levels, reduced abdominal fat mass, and improvement in the way their bodies use insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. All of this is good news for children’s health, because being overweight during childhood can lead to a variety of other health issues later in life.
But there’s more good news about Juice Plus+ and kids. The Children’s Health Survey of over 200,000 families found that when kids take Juice Plus+, they also start to eat better. Parents report that more than 70 percent of kids taking Juice Plus+ for at least three years eat more fruits and vegetables than they did before starting the product.
So, what are some other ways to get kids to eat their fruits and vegetables? Some parents find involving them in growing, shopping for, or cooking veggies makes kids more likely to eat them. My daughter shuns any kind of fruit if I feed it to her in her high chair. So I instituted Floor Fruit, where every afternoon we sit together on the kitchen floor and peel, chop, and eat a piece of fruit together. Works like magic!
It also helps to offer vegetables with foods kids like, such as on a pizza or in tacos. A tasty dip can additionally get kids interested in eating raw veggies. And I find that chopping vegetables into tiny pieces and then adding them to fried rice or scrambled eggs makes them slip past unnoticed.
Also, be patient when offering new vegetables. Sometimes kids need to see a food many times before they will try it. And try not to get into struggles over food. That just sets the stage for bad feelings about healthy foods.
Do you have a vegetable-averse child? What strategies have helped?
 Canas JA. Insulin resistance and adiposity in relation to serum Beta-carotene levels. J Pediatr. 2012 Jul;161(1):58-64.