Recently, while perusing Facebook, I came across an article titled “Why I Stopped Buying Juice Boxes” (complete with graphic pictures) that totally grossed me out. But, as many moms might focus on the part that was gross, this article served to make me start questioning whether my kids are drinking too much fruit juice.
I have a two year old, and my pediatrician has always talked about not offering too much juice and watering it down for the little kids to avoid unwanted diarrhea. But really what are the health benefits of fruit juice? I’m talking about store-bought juices and/or juice boxes, not juicing at home using real fruit. What’s the benefit? Well, in the case of juice boxes, we all know the first answer is convenience. Who hasn’t thrown a juice box in their diaper bag/lunch box/purse for use later on? It’s just super easy and convenient. But really what are the health benefits? I can’t really find any in my search. Even the juices that are labeled as 100% juice or that contain vegetables as well have a lot more sugar than our little ones should probably be drinking at a time. And, if your kids are like mine, they don’t want just one a day. According to the article and the American Academy of Pediatrics, for children ages 6 months- 6 years, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruits. And, whole fruits provide needed fiber and other nutrients that are not available through juice alone. They also state that children ages 1-6 should have no more that 4-6 oz of juice per day and children 7-18 years old should have no more than 8-12 oz per day. So really all that juice is providing for our children are empty calories. Yikes! I have always said you learn something new every day…and this was certainly news to me. I think I’m not the only mom that has felt they are helping their children make healthier choices when offering them juice. But, offering it more than once a day seems to be almost as bad as giving them soda pop.
Since reading this article, I have limited my children to one serving of juice a day and am serving a lot more water at meals. If my goal is to be a healthy example to my children, I need to help them make healthy decisions as well. Little changes in your diet and the diet of your family members will prove to provide big benefits in the battle for good health!