Have you ever wondered if there can be too much of a good thing? As far as beverage choices go, dietitians recommend water, non-fat or low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice as healthy options for children. Keep reading to learn how much is too much and how much is ‘just right.’
Milk: Whole milk is recommended for children under two, but for children over two switch to fat-free or low-fat milk. Generally, your kids need between 2 to 3 cups a day; however, more isn’t always better when it comes to milk. Too much may ruin your child’s appetite for meals where they can be consuming other important nutrients such fiber, which can help with constipation. Be sure to balance your child’s diet with a variety of protein, fruits, vegetables and grains for a healthy variety of nutrients.
Water: Water is an essential nutrient for good health. The amount of water your child needs depends on several factors such as gender, age and weight. For specific water intake recommendations visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. Kids are especially vulnerable to dehydration. When it’s hot or if they are active, remind them to drink water. Under normal circumstances, consuming too much water is extremely rare, but can happen if extreme amounts of water is ingested.
100% fruit juice: Consuming 100% fruit juice can help meet the recommended fruit intake for your child but whole fruit and vegetables should also be consumed to increase fiber intake. Kids who drink too much fruit juice can develop health problems like cavities and obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following limits on 100% fruit juice:
- For children under 6 months: avoid fruit juice
- For children ages 1-6 years-old: no more than 4-6 oz per day (1/2 to ¾ cup)
- For children 7-18 years-old: No more than 8-12 oz per day (1 ½ cups)