I really never thought this day would come, yet here it is. My son had fake juice for the very first time... and it almost killed my soul.
I know that sounds a little mellow dramatic, but I have a pretty firm view point on sugary beverage intake in children. They have no place in our kiddos daily diet, period. Sounds a little extreme I know, however you must remember that I spend my days in a field where my patients, at times, have developed diabetes single-handedly because they drink too much juice or soda! Not to mention obesity rates and even diabetes rates in children are starting to sky rocket, and can be linked to sugary beverages. They are just so horrible for our little ones, and I swore up and down my son would never drink them if I could manage it.
I stand firm in my declaration against sugary beverages, however today I was left with no other beverage option but juice for my little one, and had to make a tough decision. Back track to this morning... after a nice, long, hot, jog, I get back to our house and realize I locked us out. Oh yes, I'm naturally blonde, we have a new door, it's Texas, and I locked us out. I panicked and called my husband who was in a meeting and wouldn't be by for at least 30 min. It was snack time, and little man was not appeased by the water in his sippy cup so I caved... I remembered I had left over (from his birthday) Veggie Capri Sun pouches in the garage fridge and I thought "well maybe he'll only drink half of it and that will satisfy him"... NOPE, my kid was like YUM YUM and sucked the whole thing down! I tried to transition to water half way, and he was not having it. He literally drank. the. whole. thing... Desperate times, desperate measures right?? I realized he wasn't going to die from one tiny little juice pouch, but it definitely confirmed to me that I'm certainly not bringing it into my house anytime soon that's for sure. Especially after I witnessed him reject water for it over, and over, and over again.
If your kid already has an affinity for juice, and knows it exists, then you may have a harder time transitioning them back to water. SO, a better option might be the popular 'green smoothie'. We have been doing these for some time, BUT you need to be very intentional about what you put in them. In my opinion if they are not AT LEAST 75% veggies, and made with water, or something low calorie like almond milk, then they can be just as sugar laden as a juice box itself.
I made this later in the day for Noah, and he loved it just as much. It wasn't nearly as sweet, and was made of organic baby spinach and kale, a whole zucchini, a banana, organic applesauce, and water. He drank almost the entire thing, and hopefully all memories of the fake juice were erased...haha.
A couple more reasons why juice should be kept at a minimum in your kiddos diets:
- It can fill them up with empty calories, and they end up eating less nutritious foods (like our beloved veggies!)
- It increases the rates of dental carries.
- Too much can cause excess weight gain.
- Excess weight in children, unfortunately is starting to lead to higher incidences of type 2 DM in children (seeing little ones with type 2 DM just breaks my heart :-( ... )
- It really is just sugar and water. Those companies are making SO MUCH MONEY off of something that is really horrible for your precious little ones.
- Not to mention that the water-soluble vitamins that are prevalent in fruit, are significantly more bio-available in the fruit itself. Many vitamins, take Vitamin C for example, actually are destroyed when processed in excess and then you don't receive the health benefits anyways. Eat an orange!!!
- Final note, please remember that we are the ONLY SPECIES ON THE PLANET that drinks flavored beverages. Consider having a conversation with your kiddos about what elephants, lions, snakes, birds, or giraffes drink... think about it. They drink water, and they are doing just fine (and they aren't struggling with their weight!).
- I feel the exact same way about soda as I do juice btw :)
Good luck parents!! You can do this :)
Love and blessings,
The Veggie Momma