Children

Juices… Are they necessary for my child?

Eiman Al Hammadi/ Health Promotion Reserarcher
Aspetar
09 July, 2018

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Over the past years, scientific evidence confirms the importance of juices in a child’s nutrition. Juices are essential refreshing beverages that supply your child with energy. The appealing color and sweet flavor of the juice, as well as its availability with meals, can affect children’s habits and desire to drink it most of the time.

Therefore, we have selected some health tips on the importance of juices:
• Make sure to wash the fruits thoroughly before use.
• Select natural juices to supply your child with the needed vitamins and minerals.
• Do not provide juice to your child with every meal; it can be replaced with yoghurt, milk or water.
• Offer a moderate amount of juice to your child, taking into account that a child, between 1-2 years old, needs an equivalent of 1-2 servings of fruits per day, and those who are older need 3-4 servings per day. (1 serving is equal to half a fruit or half glass of juice)
• It is preferred to serve the juice at room temperature (without adding ice) in order to avoid the loss of vitamins and minerals.
• Choose unsweetened juices and avoid artificial flavors or "nectars", because they contain preservatives that reduce the nutritional value. 
• Try to prepare fresh juice yourself by mixing two types of fruits with no added sugar; since they already contain enough amount of natural sugar.
• Encourage your child to eat fruits instead of drinking juice to benefit from fiber present in the fruit itself.
• Try adding vegetables to the juice; for example, mixing orange with carrots gives more benefits and reduces sugar in the juice.
• You can replace juice with coconut water; it is rich in vitamins and minerals which is ideal for preventing dehydration.
• Make sure to brush your child’s teeth after drinking juice; they contain sugars and natural acids that can cause tooth decay.


Some ideas for healthy and refreshing juices:
(Make sure that your child is not allergic to fruits or vegetables before mixing them)
• Use a blender to mix:
o Slices of peeled red apples with some pieces of beetroot.
o Slices of apples with carrot and diluted lemon juice.
*Try adding strawberries, red, black and blue berries for a juice rich with antioxidants that can strengthen your child’s immunity.
• Prepare fresh peeled tomato juice (it is important to choose fresh tomatoes as they can affect the juice taste).
• Replace juice with a variety of fruit salad.
• Frost your child's favorite juice in shaped ice cubes then add to water.

Juices are a double-edged sword!
The excessive consumption of juices may harm your child; blood sugar increases causing weight gain. Juices are highly concentrated with sugar and is high in calories. However, from a positive aspect, drinking juice can be beneficial since it provides vitamins and minerals that are needed for the body to produce energy and maintain vitality.
This is why moderation is important!
Be smart in choosing the quality of fruits you use to prepare the juices for your child. Do not compromise in buying prepackaged or canned juices since they may contain high percentage of artificial sugars and pigments that are not needed by your child's body at all.

 

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