We have heard alot of talking about minimizing sugary drinks. But, what about fruit juice for kids?
It is always best for kids to get their fruit by eating it. When they drink fruit juice, it will have a concentrated dose of natural fruit sugar (fructose). Fruit juice is okay but like other high sugary drinks, it should be in moderation. And let's not forget about the effects of sugar on children's developing teeth.
You might be surprised how little is recommended!
Here are some guidelines* to help you in how much juice is okay for kids:
- start by making sure the label says 100% fruit juice
- check to be sure that the label says "No Sugar Added"
- for infants up to 6 months, it is not recommended to give them any juice
- for babies 6-12 months old, 4 ounces of fruit juice a day.
- for 1 to 6 year olds, 6 ounces of fruit juice a day
- for kids 7 years old and older, no more than 12 ounces per day
Four ounces (118 milliliters) of 100 percent fruit juice equals one serving of fruit.
Children and fruit juice questions and answers (updated 01/20/10)
Question: Can your preschooler be unhealthy if they are in normal ranges for weight & height? My daughter drinks way too much sugary drinks!
Answer: Excellent question and it's wonderful hear from a proactive parent! Height and weight (Body Mass Index) is only one indicator of a healthy child. More importantly are the necessary nutrients that a child needs that comes from eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. One concern about high sugar fluid intake is that it is replacing necessary fluids like water and milk.
Consuming a diet with too many sugars can also make a child full and may impact total daily nutrition. If children fill up on sugar drinks they may not be eating other high nutrient foods needed for daily requirements such as; protein, and vitamins and minerals.
Preschoolers are also developing eating habits that last a lifetime, by encouraging a balanced diet early one this may help to prevent weight issues and unhealthy habits later in life. Try gradually decreasing the amount of sugary drinks and replacing it with fresh fruit, milk and water. You can also try 1/4 of cup water to 100% fruit juice to lessen the sweetness gradually over time.
Thank you for the great question and remember it can be most effective to take 'small steps' to family wellness and to try to keep changes positive and fun for kids.
Every positive change, no matter how small, is a step to creating a healthier child. Together we can give children the knowledge, facts and skills to develop healthy habits for a lifetime!” Maggie LaBarbera RN founder of Nourish Interactive- the fun way to learn about nutrition!
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*source: Mayo Clinic