Apple juice, orange juice, fruit punch, 100% juice, fruit drinks, and on and on. There are countless options for juice, and also countless points of view about how much juice to offer our kids. At Science of Parenting, we strive to share trustworthy and research-based information with you, so we are going straight to the source of trustworthy information on kids’ health – the American Academy of Pediatrics. Last year, they published recommendations which gives parents helpful answers to common questions about juice!
What kind of juice should I give my kids?
100% fresh or reconstituted juice are the healthiest juice choices. (If it is called “beverage”, “cocktail”, or “drink” instead of juice, then it is not 100% juice!) Check out the differences in the nutrition facts between these different types beverages. (Also note that the APA says that children should not be given unpasteurized juice).
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics says juice is not the ideal choice for children. They explain that milk and water are sufficient drinks for children, and that it is better to offer whole fruits instead of fruit juice, as fruit juice has more unnecessary calories and lacks dietary fiber compared to whole fruit.
The recommendations for the amount of juice vary by the child’s age. (Note: These are recommendations for the maximum a child could have in a day, not a recommendation of how much they should have).
|Under 1 year||No juice|
|1-3 years old||Max of 4 oz per day (1/2 cup)|
|4-6 years old||Max of 6 oz per day (3/4 cup)|
|7-18 years old||Max of 8 oz per day (1 cup)|
These recommendations are important because drinking too much juice can cause tooth decay and excessive weight gain.
What other guidelines are there for juice?
Juice should not be given as a treatment for diarrhea or dehydration.
Children should not be allowed to carry juice with them and drink it throughout the day. This ongoing exposure causes damage to children’s teeth by giving them a repeated “juice baths” throughout the day which creates tooth decay. Also avoid giving juice at bedtime.
As a parent myself, I’m grateful to have organizations of experts who can give me trustworthy information on topics like this. After reading about all of these recommendations, I think my daughter and I might have to try out the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipe for Fruit Slush – which has the benefits of whole fruit but still feels like a sweet summer treat!
Want to learn more about raising healthy kids? Check out our Nutrition and Wellness resources on the Everyday Parenting page.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics – https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Recommends-No-Fruit-Juice-For-Children-Under-1-Year.aspx
Nutrition Label examples borrowed from the USDA’s Nutrition Newsletter, Nibbles for Health – https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/Nibbles_Newsletter_19.pdf