The first time my daughter ever had juice was a few weeks before her 2nd birthday. We were at the Dells and my husband came back with “Elmo” juice. Her eyes lit up when she saw it. (Darn those creative marketers).
To this day, we treat juice as a special occasion treat and we allow one juice box at kid’s birthday parties. Kind of like a glass of champagne for us (or maybe not). And to this day, neither of my kids have had a single sip of pop. In case you didn’t read my bio, I grew up on pop and had ill effects as an adult from drinking it in my youth. Neither my husband or I care to drink pop so it is a no brainer that it is not in our home.
So what do my kids drink? Water and non-dairy milk, green smoothies and my daughter loves Kombucha (fermented tea which is high in probiotics).
No matter what you think, I firmly stand by my opinion that kids just flat out do not need juice; not in their lunch boxes, after school or even in the morning.
“Fruitables” are my preferred source of “juice.” But they are still considered empty calories that metabolize the same as pop in kids’ bodies. Yes, let me repeat, juice metabolizes just like soda pop in the body. Companies will do a lot of creative marketing to have parents believe they are getting a serving of fruits and vegetables in their drinks. But nothing compares to eating the real thing.
But what if I dilute it? Nope, don’t care, kids still don’t need the excess sugar and processed fruit drink.
But…nope. You are feeding them sugar water, check your label. Does it contain high-fructose corn syrup, sucralose or fructose? Don’t even get me started on the food dyes…
Fructose? Isn’t that fruit? Yes and no, in fact a recent study by the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)found fructose consumption might be more likely to stimulate rather than curb appetite. So it is tricking our brains to eat more, and most likely to crave more empty carbs.
Also high ‘fructose’ consumption is leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in kids as young as 14. Another study found that too much fructose consumption is a possible link to pancreatic cancer. I am not saying eating fruit will cause cancer, it is the fake stuff we put into our bodies.
Questions to ask yourself if juice is affecting their wellbeing:
- Do your kids have uncontrollable temper tantrums that is calmed when you give them juice?
- Are you giving them more than 6 oz of juice per day?
- Are you giving juice that is combined with eating protein or just more carbs?
- Are your kids chronically sick or sick more than 2 times in one year?
I challenge you, if you are giving your child juice on a daily basis, why are you giving it to them? Do you feel they need variety? Kids are fine not having juice, in fact if you don’t buy it, they won’t miss it or know any better. We are truly fortunate to have access to good, clean water.
Sure they will whine, beg, ask, maybe even throw themselves on the ground, when you are persistent and consistent in what you feed and give them to drink, but they will not miss it and will eventually get use to it.