January 18, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
- Hold off on introducing your child to juice for at least his first year and refrain from serving it in a bottle.
- Make sure it is a pure fruit juice. Fruit drinks that aren’t 100% juice typically contain added sugars and/or sweeteners that can increase calories and cause cavities. Avoid “juice drink,” “fruit flavored drink” or a sugar-heavy “blend.”
- Avoid letting your child sip on juice (or any other sugar-containing liquid, for that matter) for prolonged periods. Whether by bottle, sippy cup, or cup, bathing one’s teeth in sugary liquids can cause serious tooth decay.
- Consider diluting it with water.
- Encourage your child to eat fresh, whole fruits whenever available.
- Whenever possible, serve juice that contains pulp for added fiber.
- Make sure juice doesn’t entirely drown out your child’s interest in drinking milk and water.
- Buy only pasteurized products (shelf-stable juices, frozen concentrates, or specially marked refrigerated juices) to avoid potential diarrhea-causing infections.
- While the American Academy of Pediatrics does suggest 100% fruit juice as an acceptable part of a healthy diet, be aware that it’s wise to offer it in age-appropriate moderation (none under 6 months of age and no more than 4 to 6 ounces a day for older infants and children).
- Keep an eye out for warning signs of excessive juice intake, such as tooth decay and “toddler’s diarrhea.” Not only do young kids tend to suck on sugary liquids for prolonged periods when allowed, thus putting their newly acquired teeth at considerable risk, but kids between the ages of 2 and 3 tend to have the highest juice consumption— in some instances enough to cause persistent diarrhea.
The good news is that fruit and vegetable juices are full of antioxidants that can help fight diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Easy-to-swallow juices can count toward the five servings of fruit and vegetables that the National Cancer Institute recommends we get every day.