Fruits contain vitamins, dietary fibre, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for your kids’ health. But parents often face the dilemma between cut fruits and juices in a quest to provide their little ones with these essential nutrients.
Do your kids usually prefer drinking juice to eating fruits? And, do you prefer handing your kid a juice box than running behind them with an apple or banana? Well, experts believe that it may not be the best thing to do. They argue that even if the juice is freshly extracted, it is not a nutritional equivalent to whole fruits. Hence, consuming fruits is always healthier than having juice. According to them, juicing a fruit steals away its fibre, antioxidants, and other vital nutrients.
Consuming fibre promotes healthy bowel function and prevents constipation. Thus it is important to include fibre in your kids’ diet. And what better way than feeding them cut fruits? In addition to the pulp, the fruit skin also tends to be rich in vitamins and other essential nutrients. Hence, the high nutritional value attached to fruits’ skin and pulp makes the fruit a healthier choice than its juice.
Moreover, we live in a world hit with Covid and rising pollution levels. Kids are thus constantly exposed to the threat of infections and diseases. The antioxidants found in fruits help build up the immunity to fight these problems. Consuming fruits also has other benefits like it reduces chances of cancer, childhood obesity, chronic diseases and promotes health.
If your kid is unwilling to eat cut fruits separately there are other ways to include fruits in your kids’ diet:
1. Use them as toppings on cereals
2. Make yogurt flavourful by adding fruits
3. Add mango, grapes, pomegranate, oranges to green salads
4. Scoop them and add them to custards, pancakes and ice-creams
This being said, kids need not totally shun away from consuming fruit juices. Experts believe consuming 100% fruit juice once in a while may not be bad for kids. However, it is recommended to choose fresh fruit juice in place of packaged juice. Packaged juice comes with additives, sweeteners, calories, and fewer nutrients.
Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) released guidelines in 2019, on children’s fast food and drinks intake. IAP recommends the following guidelines for 100% fruit juices, packaged drinks, and sugar-sweetened beverages:
1. It is best to consume water over any fruit juices.
2. Young children and infants below 2 years should not consume juices in any form.
3. Children between 2-5 years may consume up to 125 ml per day.
4. Children beyond 5 years may consume up to 250 ml per day. These should preferably be fresh fruit juices.
Although fruit juices lack the dietary fibre present in whole fruits, they are much easier to consume. Hence, try to occasionally include juices as part of your kids’ fruit intake, as that will keep them from getting bored. After all, getting kids to consume fruits is the biggest challenge for parents.