Juice for Kids – A Big No No?

By Amanda Orr

Take your kids to the park with a juice box and you’re bound to get some glares or pointed comments such as, "Oh, you let your children have juice?" The sub-text is clear: They don’t--and you're a bad mother.

Well, is it really so bad? Let’s set the record straight. There are a couple of reasons why parents and pediatricians tell you to avoid the hard stuff. (Yes, in infant language, we can call juice the hard stuff!). Some reasons are valid and others, not so much.

Myth: if you are delaying your baby’s first sip of apple juice because you’re afraid that one sip is a slippery slope towards a sweet tooth, you’re too late. Your baby already has a sweet tooth. Breast milk is naturally sweet, so thinking that avoiding juice will help your child avoid a sweet tooth is just silly. However…

Truth: Tooth decay and obesity can be real concerns when you are talking about starting your baby or toddler on juice. For these reasons, Naturopath and CEO of Organic Bistro, Laryn Callway recommends the following guidelines for giving juice to children:

1. No juice at all before six months of age;
2. Only 100% whole juice – not 10% juice or other "garbage";
3. Always dilate juice with purified water – start them with using juice as a flavor. For example, 1 oz of juice to 3 oz water;
4. Pear is hypoallergenic and a great juice to start with – other good ones are apple, carrot, papaya and mango. Avoid citrus and berry juices for allergy issues and avoid grape because it’s just too sweet!
5. Read the ingredient label – it should say juice, water and maybe some vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and nothing else.

Even if you start slow, and follow the above advice, you should still limit the intake of juice says Callaway. "Think of juice like a dessert. You wouldn’t give your child a sippy cup full of chocolate mousse to walk around with would you?" Or would you? Perhaps for a first birthday treat!

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