Kids love the taste of fruit juice, and parents love it because it’s a healthy source of nutrients.
However, when choosing juice for your children, it’s important to note what kind of juice you are serving. Not all juices are created equal – some are nutritional gems while others are merely sugar water.
Here are a few pointers:
Be label savvy. Only buy juice labelled "100% pressed and squeezed fruit juice" and beware of words like "deflavoured, clarified or reconstituted apple, pear or grape juice", as this refers to juice made from concentrate.
100% juices that are made from concentrate are reconstituted, and therefore undergo more heat processing which could harm nutritional value.
Examine the ingredients. Avoid fruit-flavoured beverages that have added fructose corn syrup as they shape a child’s taste toward sweet cravings.
Look at the juice. Generally, the cloudier the juice, the more fibre it contains. Picture a tall glass of 100% pure orange juice with pulp – there should be some sediment at the bottom, which is a reminder of the juice’s origins.
Juicy snacks. Offer 100% pressed juice at mealtimes or as snacks as an alternative to soda or junk juices. Serve orange juice at breakfast, and pack a carton in your child’s lunch box for lunch or as a daytime snack.
Dilute. If a child usually consumes more than the daily recommended amount of juice, dilute the juice with water. The water has the sweet taste of juice while allowing the appropriate amount of juice intake throughout the day.
Juice-bottle syndrome. Don’t let toddlers walk around or fall asleep with a baby bottle filled with juice. It may contribute to bacterial growth, plaque and, eventually, tooth decay.
Go with citrus juices. Orange juice is a morning favourite and one of the most nutritious beverages available. An excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, orange juice is also a good source of folate and thiamin. Compared to other juices, orange juice is higher in protein, vitamins A, B, C, calcium, iron and potassium. Drinking a 250 ml glass of orange juice counts as one of your five necessary fruit and vegetable servings for the day.
Source: Pacmar – Wilde Fruit Juices