Almost all kids enjoy the sweet taste of fruit juice and many toddlers will not leave home without taking along a sippy cup filled with fruit juice. However, the American Association of Pediatrics has recently changed their guidelines for infant juice intake and how much juice toddlers and big kids should drink.
Infants under 12 months:
Previous guidelines allowed for fruit juice to be served to infants over six months. The new guidelines advise parents to wait until their infant is 12 months before introducing juice. This is to prevent babies from suffering poor nutrition as result of filling up on so much juice that the intake of breast milk (or formula) and table food is reduced. Introduce fruit to an infant over six months of age who is ready for table food by serving fruit purees.
Toddlers and Preschoolers:
For kids in the 1 to 4 years age group, the AAP recommends a cup of fruit a day and up to four ounces of this can come from 100% fruit juice. Also, serve juice in an open top cup and only at meal times. Allowing your toddler to sip juice all day from a sippy cup can lead to cavities.
Younger school age kids:
Kids age 4 to 6 can start drinking more juice, up at 6 ounces a day.
Older school age kids and teens:
Older kids are allowed up to 2 1/2 cups of fruit a day, with one cup (8 oz) coming from fruit juice.
When shopping for fruit juice, only buy juice labeled 100% fruit juice. Juice blends and cocktails have sugar added. Nutritionists encourage parents to focus on serving fresh fruit to kids who are picky eaters to fulfill the recommended amount of fruit servings each day, instead of letting their child eat fruit gummies or chews. Put fresh fruit into smoothies or yogurt and, for older kids, keep a bowl of fruit on the counter so they can help themselves.