Children love to drink juices as they are delicious, colourful and thirst-quenching. Giving your child natural fruit juices are a better choice than giving him other sweetened drinks, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals. Drinking juices in moderation could be part of a healthy nutritious diet for your child as they provide additional nutrients to their snacks, especially for children who don't eat enough vegetables and fruits.
But not too much juices!
Juice consumption could have its nutrition drawbacks, namely it is rich in calories so drinking it in excess adds extra unnecessary calories to your child's nutrition. This also makes juice consumption as one among the major contributing factor to childhood obesity.
Moreover, drinking too much juice could trigger in your child chronic diarrhoea, gas, bloating and abdominal pains because of the quick passage of carbohydrates from the juice to his delicate gastrointestinal tract, which he will not be able to tolerate.
You should not forget that juice contains fruit sugar that despite being natural, leads to dental caries. Give priority for whole vegetables and fruits!
The most important complaint against juices is that it is chosen as an alternative for whole vegetables and fruits. Most juices, unless they contain lots of pieces of fruits, are low in fibre when compared to whole vegetables and fruits. Health benefits of fibre are well-known as it helps keep your child's gastrointestinal system healthy.
Juices in moderation.
Children are the highest consumers of juices. Some parents don't limit the intake of juices like they do with other kinds of drinks because they think that juices are healthy. It is true that 100% natural juices are a better choice than other sweetened and fruit-flavoured drinks, but it could replace milk which is essential in your child's diets.
Offer your child, fresh juice in moderation as it gives him some vitamins and minerals, but remember that too much is not recommended. It is recommended that children between 1 and 2 years consume 1 to 2 portions of fruits and older kids 2-4 portions (one portion is equivalent to ½ a fruit piece or ½ cup of juice) and the juice intake should not exceed half of the daily fruit portions, i.e ½ cup to 1 cup per day. The best option is to offer your child a variety of fresh fruits in order to provide him with healthy fibres.
(This article is developed by the NIDO® Child Development Expert Panel)