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Watch the Juice - Nutrition Tips for Parents of Juice Lovers

Most kids love juice. They want it first thing when they wake up and at lunch and dinner and for snack, etc. In fact, if you let them, they would probably drink it all day. There is a common misconception that since the word “fruit” is on the label, it must be good. We asked our Director of Clinical Nutrition Shannon Hendrix, MS, RD, LD her advice about juice and how much kids should drink.

Is it OK to give juice to a baby before their first birthday?  

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that human milk be the only thing fed to infants until six months of age. Formula can also be used.

After one-year of age, fruit juice may be used as part of a meal or snack. It should not be sipped on throughout the day. Toddlers should not be given juice in a bottle at bedtime or nap time.

Most parents probably think juice is better than soda. Is that true?

Not exactly, just like soda, it can contribute to energy imbalance. Plus, if kids drink a lot of juice, they are taking in too many calories and sugar. Try giving your kids 100% fresh or reconstituted fruit juice. Regardless, juice still lacks the fiber to satisfy appetite. 

What effect does the sugar and other ingredients have on a child’s body?

High sugar content in juice contributes to increase calorie intake and the risk of tooth decay and cavities. The lack of protein and fiber in juice can cause weight gain in kids. The sugars can also lead to obesity and diabetes.

What amount of juice is OK for toddlers and young children?

  • Toddlers (1-3 year olds) 4oz/day
  • Kids (4-6 year olds) 4-6oz/day
  • Kids (7-18 year olds) 8oz/day


Shannon Hendrix, MS, RD, LD
Director, Clinical Nutrition

Arkansas Children’s

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