Straight, No Chaser In the News: New Guidelines on Fruit Juice and Fruit Intake for Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics has offered revised recommendations regarding children’s intake of fruits and fruit juice. If you’re wondering why such a thing is necessary, think no further than avoiding a lifetime of bad teeth and reducing the risks of childhood obesity and failure to thrive. The recommendations are adjusted by age, but the most fundamental consideration is parents should age giving any fruit juices during the first year of a child’s life. In short, it’s time to toss the sippy cup.

Here are the recommendations:

Birth to Age 1:

  • Breast milk or formula should be the only nutrient fed to infants for the first six months of life.
  • After six months of age, parents can introduce fruits (either mashed or pureed) but not fruit juice.

Ages 1-4:

  • At this age, children need one cup of fruit a day.
  • Up to 4 ounces (half a cup) can come from 100% fruit juice.

Ages 4-6

  • At this age, focus on whole fruits.
  • Fruit juice shouldn’t exceed 4-6 ounces a day.

Ages 7-18

  • At this age, children and teens should get 2 to 2.5 cups of fruit daily.
  • Fruit juice shouldn’t exceed 8 ounces (1 cup) a day.

Don’t worry. Kids adopt the habits you introduce. Nutritious eating is a lifestyle. Develop the habits of fruits in cereals, yogurt or smoothies. Introduce apples and oranges as snacks or deserts. You can even use mashed apples or applesauce as a sugar replacement in baked good.

A final reminder is to avoid fake fruit. Fruit chews, strips or gummies don’t deliver the same nutritional content (especially fiber) as whole fruit. And definitely avoid fruit “drinks,” “beverages” or “cocktails.” These are typically signs that it’s not 100% juice.

Here’s to your health!

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