Why Babies and Toddlers Don’t Need Fruit Juice
Some supermarkets have recently stocked the shelves with fruit juice marketed for babies as young as 6 months. We are not fans of this at all! Research conducted in Australia has linked consumption of fruit juice and fruit drinks, such as cordial, with childhood obesity. Approximately 1 in 4 children in Australia are either overweight or obese and this is linked with serious health concerns for them now and in later life.
As soon as our babies start solids we (parents, grandparents, teachers, food manufacturers, supermarkets, the media…. the list goes on) should be teaching, encouraging and displaying healthy eating habits and behaviours. Clever marketing and fancy new products shouldn’t be allowed to mislead us.
Why shouldn’t I offer my child fruit juice?
Drinks can impact on our eating behaviours and our health. Here are some reasons why babies don’t need fruit juice, fruit drinks such as cordial or soft drinks:
- They may reduce their appetite for breast milk, formula or food but won’t provide the nutrients they need for growth and development.
- They can cause tooth decay.
- Consuming fruit juices can contribute to excess weight gain.
- It may lead to picky or fussy eating.
What should they drink?
Milk: For babies up to the age of 1, breast milk or formula should be their main drink. From 12 months full cream plain milk can be offered after you have reduced breast feeding. For children who really enjoy their milk you may need to limit this to around 3 glasses per day as too much milk can affect their appetite and reduce iron absorption from the food they eat.
Water: For older children and toddlers, water should be encouraged as their main drink.
If they ask for fruit juice, try offering them a piece of fruit first and a glass of water. If you must give them juice, dilute it with water to at least 50/50 and limit to one small glass of diluted juice per day.
But my child won’t eat whole fruit?
Whole fresh fruit is best. During the juicing process the pulp and skins are left behind. The pulp and skins contain valuable amounts of fibre, nutrients and health promoting antioxidants important for your child’s health. A good way to encourage children to eat fresh fruit is involving them in the fresh fruit and vegetable shopping, allowing them to pick out fruits they want to eat and allowing them help in preparing it to eat. Being creative with the way fresh fruit is presented and offered can also help them to eat and enjoy it.
Here are some of our fruit recipe ideas for you to try:
- Blueberry yoghurt
- Dried apple chips
- Dried strawberry chips
- Rainbow fruit skewers
- Banana dippers
- Banana mango smoothie
- Blueberry ricotta pancakes
Join the petition to stop supermarkets from selling fruit juices to babies here.