In the never-ending quest to make sure children have a well-balanced diet, parents also should consider what beverages they’re drinking. Most infants on breast milk or baby formula make the switch to milk and, eventually, fruit juice.
While fruit juice is a healthy alternative to sugary sodas, it’s important to limit the intake of juice as too much may contribute to weight gain.
If you give your child fruit juice, it’s best to choose 100 percent fruit juice instead of sweetened juice.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has these tips for parents introducing fruit juice to a toddler:
- Don’t introduce juice into the diet of infants before 6 months of age.
- Infants should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable covered cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. Never give infants juice at bedtime.
- Limit fruit juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day for children 1 to 6 years old. For children 7 to 18 years old, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 ounces or 2 servings per day.
- Encourage children to eat whole fruits to meet their recommended daily fruit intake. About 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice equals one serving of fruit.
- Infants, children, and adolescents should not consume unpasteurized juice.
- Ask your pediatrician to discuss giving fruit juice and to explain the differences between juices and fruit drinks.