Did you know that juice contains roughly the same amount of calories per ounce as soda? I used to give my kids juice whenever they asked for it but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day for children 1 to 6 years old. Infants should not be given any juice and children age 7 and older should limit their daily juice intake to between 8 and 12 ounces.
As a rule I now only serve my children 4 ounces of juice at breakfast and then switch to water. 4 ounces is just half a cup. Drinking too much juice can cause children to miss out on other foods that make up a balanced diet. Constantly drinking juice can damage tooth enamel and cause tooth decay especially when parents serve juice in a baby bottle.
Reading Juice and Labels
It goes without saying that when you serve juice it should be 100% juice with no sugar added. It is amazing how many products in the store look like fruit juice but actually contain sweeteners and artificial flavors.
We all know that milk is an important source of calcium for our kids' growing bones but too much milk, especially whole milk, is not so great for children either. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, only low-fat milk should be served to children older than 2.
Milk Servings by Age
Children 1 to 3 years old should just be drinking about 2 cups of milk each day. 4 to 8 year olds should have about 3 cups per day and that number increases to 4 cups per day for the 9 to 18 year old group.
Responding to Kids' Drink Requests
Juice and milk should supplement a varied diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. If your kids complain about wanting more juice, encourage them to eat more fresh fruit. Eating fruit will provide them with dietary fiber and other benefits that may not be present in juice alone.
At the end of the day, you know water is really the best thing to quench thirst no matter whether you are a kid or an adult.
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