When Can Babies Start Drinking Juice?
From pushing through the nine grueling (yet rewarding) months of pregnancy to figuring out a way to soothe your little one when he/she's non-stop crying, parenthood is no easy feat.
But, now it's time for the real challenge, and that's acing your baby's nutrition.
So, passing a bottle of freshly squeezed OJ to your baby is not always as easy as it seems. In fact, do you really know when it's finally time to have your little one start sipping on the popular drink?
If not, this tell-all article will help you handle those infant years with ease.
To Juice or Not to Juice? - The-Need-to-Know
For years now, doctors and parents alike considered fruit juice as one of the best ways to sneak a few extra vitamins into a baby's body.
Let's not also forget that the sweet drink tastes fantastic, so it's quite easy to introduce to a fussy eater's menu.
However, in 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a new policy(2) that changed the way we view baby fruit juices forever.
According to the policy's guidelines, children that are under the age of 1 should NOT drink fruit juice, unless -of course- the doctor recommends it as a way to treat constipation.
Alternatively, moms should stick to breast milk and infant formulas.
This change of hearts puts the babies' health front and center as there are growing concerns about their weight management and oral hygiene.
Specifically, fruit juices (especially the store-bought kind) are jammed with sugar which increases a baby's daily calorie intake and causes it to gain weight. Not to mention that the sweet stuff prompts tooth decay.
Also, note that when experts refer to fruit juice, they mean the juice that consists solely of fruits, no additives whatsoever.
And a word of advice: Don't let these restrictions mess up with your baby's fruit-based purees.
Whole fruits are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and various minerals, all of which play a huge role in your infant's healthy development.
Is There Such Thing As Too Much Juice?
Besides introducing a no-juice policy for babies under the age of 1, the AAP also advises moms to keep the juice consumption on the down-low for children between the ages of 1 and 3.
In fact, the recommended daily intake for these kids is set at just 4 ounces a day.
So, yes, having your kid drink too much juice (and thus, receive way too many calories) is a possibility.
But, sticking to the AAP's recommendations is the best way to avoid overconsumption and its potential side effects.
Why You Should Serve Fruit Juice In A Cup, Not A Bottle
It's no secret that fruit juice(3) is linked to dental caries (thanks, sugar!).
So, to avoid harming your baby's first teeth, it's best to serve the sweet drink in a cup(4), and not a bottle.
By doing so, you prevent your little one from wandering around with a juice box in hand all day long, a habit that leads to excessive exposure of the teeth to carbs and, thus, decay.
Make sure you opt for plastic cups that don't harm your munchkin's gums and now-developing teeth.
Don't know where to start? This set of juice cups is easy to grasp, features a broad base for maximum stability and is also free from BPA.
In short: If you are ready to introduce your baby to juices, these cups are a no-brainer.
10 Simple Juice Recipes to Healthify Your Baby's Menu
1. Peach Juice
Perfect for an infant that's making its first steps into the juice world, this sipper is not just tasty but also packed with dietary fiber and vitamin C.
The recipe calls for one teaspoon of honey or sugar (optional), but it's best to keep the drink as sweetener-free as possible.
- 3 peaches or nectarines
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp honey or sugar (optional)
- Wash the peaches thoroughly.
- In a saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil.
- Add the peaches to the hot water and let them sit for a couple of minutes.
- Then, remove them from the hot water and peel them carefully.
- Chop them into cubes and add them to a blender along with sugar or honey (optional). Blend until smooth.
- You may need to add more water to the juice to thin its consistency. Pour into glasses and serve.
2. Apple Juice
At just two ingredients (including water), this apple juice recipe takes about 15 minutes to whip up.
But, don't let the short prep time fool you. This juice packs a serious flavor punch, and it's also loaded with fiber.
PS: If possible, skip the sugar.
Ingredients for the Applesauce:
- 2 medium-sized apples, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup water (or more for a thinner consistency)
- 2 tbsp sugar (optional)
Ingredients for the Juice:
- 2 tbsp applesauce
- 1 cup water
- Wash the apples thoroughly. Then, peeled them and cut them into cubes.
- Add them to a saucepan along with water and sugar (if used) and simmer for 5-7 minutes until they are fork-tender.
- Transfer the apple cubes to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Then, add two tablespoons of applesauce and one cup of water into a bowl and stir with a spoon.
- Pour in glasses and serve.
3. Orange and Carrot Juice with Ginger
If you are looking for a delicious way to fortify your baby's body during the winter, this juice recipe is as good as it gets.
Rich in vitamin C and A (from oranges and carrots respectively) and packed with antioxidant properties (thanks to the ginger), this juice is a must-try for everyone who wants to avoid getting sick – moms included.
- 4 oranges, peeled
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup carrots, chopped
- 2-4 tbsp water
- Add all the ingredients (minus the water) into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Once they are pureed, add the water and mix once again.
- Transfer to a glass and serve.
4. Green Gorilla Juice
Are you looking for the ultimate vitamin-packed pick-me-up for your kids? Then, this green juice recipe is a dream come true.
Featuring five nutrient-dense foods including broccoli and kale, this juice is going to be your trusted ally in sneaking veggies into your little one's menu.
- 1 broccoli stem
- 2-3 leaves kale or spinach
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 3 pears, peeled and quartered
- 1 lemon, peeled
- Press all the ingredients through a juicer, stir the mixture and serve.
5. Watermelon Juice
This refreshing juice recipe will come handy on a hot summer day when your little one is this close to diving into the sea head first.
Add a savory kick to the mix by infusing the juice with lemon juice.
Your baby will love it, no doubt.
- 2 cups watermelon, chopped
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- A pinch of salt
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Strain the juice using a sieve and transfer to a cup.
6. Grape Juice
Ready in just 10 minutes, this easy grape juice recipe is perfect for busy moms who still want to offer the most to their babies, especially on a nutritional level.
You can also add a bit of lemon juice for an extra kick if your baby is old enough.
- 2 cups grapes
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp honey or sugar (optional)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Remove the stems from the grapes, add them to a big bowl and toss them with the lemon juice.
- Wash them thoroughly and add them to a blender along with water and the sweetener of your choice (optional). Blend for 10-15 seconds.
- Using a sieve, remove the skins and transfer to a cup.
7. ABC Juice (Apple/Beetroot/Carrot)
Here's a playful way to get you and your little one engaged in healthy juicing.
This innovative juice recipe is made from everyday foods which can hit the spot even for fussy eaters.
Plus, the bright red will get your little one all pumped up.
- 1 apple, peeled
- 1 beetroot, peeled
- 1 carrot, peeled
- Grate all the ingredients and add them to a blender along with a little bit of water and puree until smooth.
- Using a sieve, remove all the chunks and transfer to a cup.
8. Carrot-Pear-Beet Juice
Featured on Jessica Fischer's 5-star rated cookbook "Best 100 Juices for Kids", this delicious juice recipe is a must-try for every picky eater.
The delicious flavor and the eye-catching color of the juice are bound to convert your naysayer into a dedicated juice drinker from that very first sip.
For more juicing inspo, make sure you add this gem of a cookbook to your shopping cart.
- 2 medium pears, peeled and pitted
- 5 medium carrots, peeled
- 1 large beet, peeled
- Add all the ingredients into a juicer.
- For a thinner consistency, add 1/4 cup of water to the mix.
9. Lemon Juice
When it comes to juices, you can't get more classic than lemonade.
This go-to juice recipe is adapted to the palates of our little friends and can help them get a first taste of the classic beverage in the healthiest way possible.
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp sugar (optional)
- A pinch of salt (optional)
- Add the lemon juice to a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir well and serve.
10. Black Grapes and Mixed Berries Juice
If you're feeling fancy, this delicious grape/berry combo is a no-brainer.
This recipe is also enriched with cumin powder which adds a pleasant kick to the mix that is perfect for kids of 2 years and older. Ready to fancify your kid's juice time?
- 1 cup black grapes
- 1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp honey or sugar (optional)
- 2 pinches of cumin powder (optional)
- Wash all the fruits and cut the berries into smaller pieces.
- Add them to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Using a strainer, get rid of all the chunks and transfer to a cup.
It's true: Juice has a reputation for being healthy.
But, before you put that juice box in your baby's hand thinking that you are doing your baby's health a favor, remember that this drink contains lots of sugar which may cause unnecessary weight gain and dental caries.
To prevent all these:
- Make sure you steer clear of the sweet stuff until your baby turns 1.
- Then, start introducing it to some healthier (preferably homemade) versions of the drink.
- Always make sure it consumes 4 ounces of juice daily MAXIMUM.
- If you are running out of juicing inspo, you can always check out this top-rated cookbook.
- Also, remember to serve the juice in a cup and not a bottle to prevent sugar's impact on your munchkin's teeth.
So, which are your go-to juice recipes for your little munchkin? Let us know in the comment section down below!