The label on the bottle promises five servings of fruit in just one glass, but offering
your child juice might not be the sweetest idea. Kids should eat their fruit, not
drink it, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Fruit juice is popular among children of all ages. Packaged in single serve boxes
and pouches, it is a convenient drink to serve thirsty children. But parents should
consider skipping it and look at the benefits of whole fruit instead.
Whole fruit offers fiber and other nutrients. Fruit juice, however, can lead to cavities
and weight gain or loss, the AAP says. Juice also can cause diarrhea when toddlers
drink too much of it.
The AAP advises parents not to give babies under age 1 any juice unless their doctor
recommends it. Juice should be limited for older children, too. See the chart for
the maximum daily servings by age.
The AAP recommends:
Mothers should breastfeed babies exclusively until 6 months of age and continue for
a year or longer.
Do not offer juice in a bottle or sippy cup. Toddlers and children should not carry
cups or boxes of juice throughout the day.
Buy products labeled as containing “100% juice.” Drinks that are not 100% juice often
include “drink,” “beverage” or “cocktail” on the label. They often have added sugar
and other ingredients.
Serve juice that has been pasteurized. Unpasteurized juice can contain germs that
put infants and children at risk of getting sick.