Not really. Juice has less fiber and is less nutritious than whole fruit. It also tends to be higher in sugar than fresh fruit. In addition, much of what’s sold as apple juice tends to contain a lot of sugary pear or grape juice to make it taste sweeter.
Your child will get more nutrients and fiber, and a lot less sugar, by eating fruit instead. So it’s better for your child to eat fruit and drink water.
Juice can also contribute to obesity because kids fill up on it instead of other, healthier foods. And too much juice can cause diarrhea and tooth decay.
Still, juice isn’t all bad. A small glass of juice can be a handy way to get in one of the four or five daily servings of fruit and veggies recommended for children. (Kids ages 1 to 6 can have 1/2 to 3/4 cup – 4 to 6 ounces – a day. Those 7 or older can have up to 1 cup or 8 ounces a day. Babies should not have any juice.)
To limit juice, try these tips:
- Dilute juice with water (say, half juice and half water or sparkling water).
- Avoid letting your child get in the habit of sipping on juice all day by serving it in an open cup, rather than in a bottle, juice box, or sippy cup that can be carried around.
When you do give your child juice, choose products that are 100 percent juice. Juices that are particularly rich in vitamins and antioxidants include tomato, vegetable, pomegranate, grape, berry, and orange. Many juices have added vitamin C – although that’s not a reason to drink juice. Kids can get vitamin C from eating fruits and vegetables.