Elizabeth Derks, MS, RDN, LD
Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group
Juice. We all have our favorite, whether it’s grape, apple, orange, pineapple, tropical punch. . .the list goes on and on. Everywhere we go, we’re reminded of its evil sweetness. Just walk into any grocery store and you will find an entire side of an aisle devoted to juices of infinite variety, all of it boxed, bottled and canned in the most colorful, eye-popping and kid-appealing ways.
Thanks to industry marketing tactics, many people continue to think juice is actually a healthy drink option for their kids. But the ugly truth is juice lacks the fiber content of real fruit and is usually loaded with sugar. An excessive amount can contribute to health issues in children down the line, including obesity and tooth decay.
If you wish to continue incorporating juices into your child’s diet, doing so with limitations is okay in most cases. Following is a handy guide to help you choose and serve juice more wisely.
How much 100% juice should you give your child per day?
More juice facts
- None if your child is younger than one year old.
- Limit juice to ½ cup per day if your child is age one to three years old.
- Limit juice to ½ cup to ¾ cup per day if your child is four to six years old.
- Limit juice to one cup per day if your child is over the age of seven.
- Look for bottles labeled “Contains 100% Fruit Juice.” If it does not, then
do not purchase.
- Water and cow’s milk are preferred as primary sources of fluid after weaning.
A good rule to remember is: eat fruit, don’t drink it!
- Do not give juice in bottles or sippy cups for drinking throughout the day. An open cup at snack time will suffice.
- Do not put your child to bed with juice or milk. They only should have water or nothing at all.
- Whole fruit contains more fiber than juice and is better for maintaining a feeling of fullness and contributing to regular bowel movements.
Palmetto Health offers several same-day care options for minor illnesses such as sunburns and other skin conditions. To learn more, visit PalmettoHealth.org/SameDayCare.