You have a juice-fiend on your hands. You wish things were different, but it is hard.

orange juice being poured into a glassIt’s hard to convince a juice fiend that there are other beverages in the world.

  • Juice is everywhere you go. When you’re out and about and your kids are thirsty, what are the options? Juice, soda, milk and water. And even though you know juice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (read more about the potential perils of too much juice) its got to be better than the other options.
  •  Your kids want juice and it’s hard to say no. Maybe you want to please your kids; maybe you don’t want a confrontation.
  •  You aren’t the biggest fan of water and you don’t want to be a hypocrite. It’s easier to give your kids juice than to stop drinking soda, juice and other flavored beverages yourself.

So what can you do?

  1.  Start seeing juice differently. This is the most important step. You need to make a real shift because even though you probably know the truth about juice intellectually, you may still feel like it’s a good choice. Remind yourself that juice is not a highly nutritious beverage, and giving it to your children isn’t teaching them to eat nutritiously. Instead, it’s a form of sugar-water and giving it to your kids to drink on a regular basis teaches them to like sweetened beverages. Juice today is linked to soda tomorrow.
  2. Talk to your children about juice differently. Instead of telling them it’s like fruit, tell them the truth: it’s a sweet drink they can have as a treat (read more about how juice is different from real fruit).
  3.  Set a daily (or weekly) juice limit that you try to stick to. One small juice per day is plenty from a nutrition perspective, but from a habit’s perspective less than one a day might be better. Share this limit with your children (see a script for change).
  4. If your children are already drinking a lot of juice then try to wean them off it. One way to do this is to keep one juiceGlasses of water with whole fruits in the water per day full strength and to dilute other juice drinks with more and more water until your kids are drinking water on those occasions.
  5.  Let your children choose when they have their juice during the day. When they ask for additional juices remind them they have already chosen — and consumed – their daily juice.
  6.  Let your children choose between juice and other treats so they aren’t bulking up on marginal fare. Juice or sweet yogurt; juice or chocolate milk; juice or apple sauce.

Weaning your children off juice might seem like less of a priority than getting more vegetables into them, but it’s all related.

How much juice your kids drink influences which tastes they’re most accustomed to, which beverages they consider healthy and how they eat overall. Both now and forever.

~Discover your families own path to healthy eating happiness~