Whether you’re wanting a glass of homemade juice for every meal or just an occasional snack, drinking your servings of vegetables can be a great way to intake essential vitamins and minerals while also giving your digestive tract a much-deserved break. Here’s a look at some basic juice recipes, which you can obviously alter according to your personal preferences, diet goals and health needs.
Three vegetable juice recipes to get you started
Carrot juice with apples and cabbage
Carrots are one of the tastiest, sweetest and most palatable vegetables around. If you’re new to juicing and can’t yet stomach the thought of mixing together all sorts of random vegetables that you hate, start with half a pound of our favorite orange veggie and add in an apple and a fourth of a peeled lemon. Gradually build up your tolerance and tastebuds to the point that you can add in a cup or two of some leafy greens like cabbage or kale to make the juice more centered in veggies and less based in fruit.
Spinach juice with raspberries and arugula
Spinach is essentially the king of juicing as it can be added into any type of healthy juice or smoothie. Take a big bunch of spinach and add in half a cup of raspberries, blueberries or mango chunks when you’re first starting to juice. As you start to appreciate the benefits of vegetable juices more and more, opt for including other great options like arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or collard greens. See what veggies you have on hand and experiment with different combinations so you can find what suits your personal preferences best.
Tomato juice with cucumber and kale
Although botanically speaking tomato is a fruit, many chefs still count the natural option as a veggie in the kitchen so you may be interested in making your own yummy, tomato-based juice as an alternative to manufactured picks. Add two to three tomatoes in with one cucumber and a few stalks of celery. Add half a bell pepper and a few chunks of onion, as desired. If your personal health creed allows it, you can go ahead and add in a pinch of salt along with any other seasonings you want to like cayenne pepper, chile powder or cumin. To make this vegetable juice even healthier, go ahead and throw in a few handfuls of kale to help add in some leafy-green nutrients.
Tips to remember when making your own juices
Not all juicing equipment is made equal
Depending on your juicing or blending tools, some drinks may be easier for you to make at home and others may be a bit more challenging to actually pull off so work with the tools you’ve got and change your plan of attack accordingly when it comes to adjusting a recipe. Your blender may be able to handle breaking down a whole cucumber or tomato without problem but you may need to cut carrots into smaller chunks by hand to help your machine along.
Another fact to remember is that turning veggies like spinach into a complete liquid may be a tall order for a bargain appliance so you might want to accept that a chunky drink will be your end product and go ahead and add in some ice chunks for a nice green smoothie.
Just because you’re consuming the juice of fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean you should drink unlimited amounts
Many diet approaches instruct eaters to not count the calories and sugars of vegetables and fruits because these natural products are nutrient-rich and necessary for the healthy functioning of your body. However, when you’re talking about juicing, that general counsel needs to be tweaked.
When a cup of juice may be the equivalent of a pound of oranges and two apples or two cucumbers and three tomatoes, and if you plan on drinking a couple cups of juice a day, you have suddenly introduced a hoard of calories into your system that you would probably never dream of having if you were to eat the veggies and fruits in their raw, solid form.
To play it safe, you might want to stick to having a juice for breakfast and then making sure to eat solid forms of vegetables in salads for lunch and dinner. If you’re sticking to a liquid diet for all of your meals, pay attention to recommended portions according to the specific diet you’re trying to follow so that you don’t gain weight from drinking too much juice.
Don’t get too greedy with fruits and other mix-ins
Yes, vegetable juices tend to taste a whole lot better when fruit and other tasty mix-ins are added, but keep your fruit portions small so that the sugary substances stay acting as a nice accent rather than drastically changing the composition of your vegetable juice recipe.
Pretending that a cup of raspberries, a cup of blueberries and a cup of strawberries count as a hearty green drink as long as you add two spinach leaves is misguided and will thwart your dieting efforts in the long run. Also be careful of adding in straight sweeteners like sugar, honey or artificial options, which all change the dynamic of your original intent to eat healthful veggies in liquid form.
Mix the ingredient list up for access to a wide-variety of nutrients
You may love carrot juice best, but sticking to the same small set of veggies everyday limits your body’s access to the various nutrients it needs. Keep experimenting with different products and different combinations to introduce a variety of vitamins and minerals into your system rather than sticking with the same three veggies everyday. Sure, when you mix and match different ingredients in the kitchen, you’re bound to end up with some nasty results here and there, but isn’t that always the cost of do-it-yourself projects?
Shop your local produce section for what’s on sale so you can help your body and bank account at the same time. Don’t forget about all the non-starchy vegetables that are out there like dandelion greens, brussels sprouts, beet greens, radishes, ginger roots and zucchini. Good luck in your vegetable juicing efforts!