ChildcareAlive! Beverage Resources
Best Practice: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don’t serve sugar-sweetened drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and provide no more than one 4- to 6-ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
Not all beverages are created equal, especially when it comes to giving drinks to our children! Children need to eat a variety of foods to get all of the vitamins and minerals they need to grow, and sometimes beverages, even 100% juice, can replace more nutritious foods in a child’s diet.
Why offer fresh fruit instead of 100% fruit juice?
- Eating a fresh or whole fruit will always be more nutritious than drinking 100% juice.
- Whole fruit provides nutrients that juice does not, including fiber, Vitamin A, and folate.
- 100% juice typically provides an abundance of sugars and may fill a child’s stomach with liquid, so they do not have an appetite for more nutritious foods.
Why offer 100% fruit juice instead of a juice drink, sports drink, or pop?
- When consumed in limited amounts (4-6oz/day), 100% fruit juice can provide some valuable nutrients, including vitamin C and potassium.
- 100% fruit juice provides a limited amount of nutrients, while other sugary drinks provide primarily sugar and no vitamins/minerals.
Notice that if even 8 ounces of 100% juice is consumed in a day, it has a similar amount of sugar as a pop. Children will receive the beneficial nutrients of juice in 4-6ounces per day. Also note the high sugar content and low nutrients of fruit punch and fruit juice cocktails, both of which contain less than 100% juice.
To encourage children to choose healthy beverages, remember to offer small portions of 100% fruit juice, avoid offering other sugar-sweetened beverages, and offer water more often than any other beverage!