How Much Juice Should My Child Drink?

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

How much juice should your child really be drinking each day? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) answers this question with your child’s good health in mind.

  • Infants < 1 year – no juice
  • Children 1-3 years – limit to 4 ounces or 1/2 cup
  • Children 4-6 years – limit to 4-6 ounces or 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • Children 7-18 years – limit to 8 ounces or 1 cup

Juices should be 100% real fruit juice, no ades, drinks or beverage mix substitutes. Sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) such as regular soda, juice drinks, sports drinks and flavored water with sugar are the top source of excess sugar in the American diet. Fruit drinks are the second highest sugar contributor in the beverage lineup.

Too much juice in excess of the recommended daily limit can fill up a child leading to poorer intake of other nutritious foods. It can also lead to excess weight gain. The chart below shows how ades and juice drinks compare to 100% fruit juice in added sugars.

Drink (6 oz serving)Total CaloriesAdded Sugars (grams)Added Sugars (Teaspoons)
100% Apple Juice8000
100% Orange Juice83
0
0
Lemonade85215
Fruit Drink120307
Source: USDA Food Composition Data Base

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans along with the AAP recommends that infants be fed only breast milk for the first 6 months of life.  For mothers who cannot breast feed, infant formula should be the alternative and is a complete source of nutrition for good growth and development.  The AAP discourages replacing breast of formula milk with juice because it results in a lower intake of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc. They also site research where drinking too much juice may negatively impact growth and even lead to malnutrition. 

Other AAP recommendations include:

  • Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or sip cups that make it easy to drink throughout the day.
  • Children should not be give juice at bedtime.
  • Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits which are naturally high in fiber, phytochemical and vitamins and minerals.
  • Juice should be pasteurized
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

5 Tip for Getting Your Child to Eat More Fruit

  1. Take you child grocery shopping or to the farmer’s market with you and have them pick out a new fruit each visit.
  2. Add berries or bananas to breakfast cereal, pancakes or yogurt.
  3. Store fresh fruit in sight.
  4. Don’t forget that frozen, dried and water or juice packed canned fruit count too.
  5. Be a role model and choose fruit for your snacks and meal side dish.


Categories: Nutrition & Wellness, The Grocery Aisle

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