Juices, though refreshing and nutritional, have a huge quantity of sugar and preservatives in them. Even those that are labelled 100% juice can have high levels (more than 30 g. of sugar). While most of them are beneficial for adults, are they good for your babies?
Certainly these amounts of sugar are not good in the long run nor are the preservatives, so it is better not to get your babies get addicted to them. When you do give them juice, freshly squeezed is the most nutritional choice. Or you may try to go organic.
Organic juices allow you to avoid additives such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, dyes and of course pesticide-treated fruits. Even with organic juices you want to read the labels. Compare across brands for the best list of ingredients and the least sugar.
Some brands make organic juices specifically for babies, giving them a try might be a good idea. But it is better to minimize the amount of juice given to babies under one year of age and stick with milk and water for as long as possible. When you do give babies juice, consider diluting it with water so they don’t get used to heavily sweetened juices.
As a toddler, many children will begin asking for juice as soon as they can utter words, but you determine how often they get it and what kind they get. If you’re not sure how much is too much, talk with your child’s paediatrician and/or dentist about how often they recommend you serve juice. They will likely pat you on the back for keeping sugary drinks to a minimum.
If you are worried that little or diluted juice won’t give them the vitamins they need, let me tell you there are many other ways to get them the vitamins than juice (i.e. fresh fruit, veggies and smoothies), so don’t worry. If organic juice isn’t available read the labels and pick the simplest ingredient list possible. Also look for lower amounts of sugar. But beware of juice with 0 grams of sugar.
It likely has an artificial sweetener such as sucralose or Splenda, and scientists are still unsure about the long term effects of these on your baby. Another way to ensure the juice you serve your toddler is healthy is to make juice and/or smoothies at home. Making juice at home allows to keep the ingredients as simple as possible, minimize sugar and sneak a serving or two of vegetables, such as organic or spinach or carrot into your babies diet.
Combine frozen berries, bananas, spinach, water, (or teaspoon or two of organic sugar), ice and a little yogurt in the blender – and voila we have a sweet beverage to enjoy. To make more of a juice consistency leave out the yogurt and cut down on the ice. Of course you can also use a good old fashioned juice squeezer for orange juice and lemonade.