Dietitians often say “everything in moderation” when advising patients on their diets and that same advice pertains to children. Everyone may have a different definition of moderation, so what does moderation really mean? For the first time in over 15 years, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published new guidelines on how much juice is recommended for children due to the increase in obesity and concern for dental health.

Juice can be part of a healthy diet for a child but should not be substituted for whole fruit, as whole fruit not only has the vitamins that juice has but is also a significant source of fiber. Usually children are advised to have 2-2 ½ servings of fruit per day. The serving size of fruit can depend on the child’s age and often children exceed the necessary daily fruit intake with juice alone.

Here are the current recommendations from the AAP for the moderation of juice intake in children.

  • 12 months an younger- Do not routinely give juice
  • 1-3 years of age- No more than 4 ounces (1/2 cup) juice per day
  • 4-6 years of age- No more than 4 to 6 ounces juice per day
  • 7-18 years of age- No more than 8 ounces (1 cup) juice per day
  • Parents are advised to not allow children to carry juice around throughout the day in a cup or carton as it is high in sugar and could impact dental health.

These recommendations are not meant to scare or shame parents for giving your child juice but to better define how much juice you give your child as part of a healthy diet. If you ever have questions about how much juice to give your child feel free to talk to your child’s provider or dietitian.

Written by Kerry Gibson, RD LDN CNSC