The American Academy of Pediatrics states that it’s fine to give your 1-year-old orange juice, but stick to a serving a day. Even the pickiest toddler has a hard time resisting the sweet taste of orange juice, and it can provide your little one with a boost of essential vitamins and minerals. Orange juice, however, is no better than fresh oranges and contains added sugar and calories that can lead to adverse health consequences down the road.
Nutrients in Orange Juice
Orange juice has minimal fat, saturated fat, cholesterol or salt. It also contains many vitamins and minerals to support your toddler's growth and development. Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin B-6 and folate. Calcium-fortified orange juice is also available if your child isn’t big on drinking milk. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 1-year-olds get 500 milligrams of calcium a day, and 1 cup of orange juice contains 349 milligrams. This nutrient is essential for strong, healthy bones.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises a limit of 4 to 6 ounces of fruit juice a day for 1-year-olds. Fruit juice contains added calories and sugar and lacks the fiber that fresh fruit contains. Purchase orange juice that is 100 percent juice and measure out your child’s serving. You can also try diluting the orange juice with water. Don’ t allow him to carry a juice box or cup of juice throughout the day. You want to ensure that he’s not drinking too much and missing out on other vital foods and nutrients.
Disadvantages of Juice
Drinking too much orange juice can lead to an energy imbalance. Over time, if your child is taking in too many calories, he will gain more weight than what is healthy for his age. The sugar in orange juice may also promote cavities in your child. According to an article published in 2001 in “Pediatrics,” children who drink excessive amounts of juice are prone to diarrhea, gas and stomach distension.
Allergy and Skin Irritation
If your 1-year-old has never had oranges or orange juice before, watch for signs of a citrus allergy on the day you introduce orange juice. Symptoms of an allergy usually occur within minutes to two hours after ingesting the food and include hives, swelling, watery eyes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and trouble breathing. Contact your pediatrician if these occur because a severe allergy can be life-threatening. Your child could also experience skin irritation from the acid in orange juice, which is not an allergy but rather an illness. Speak to your doctor to determine the difference.
- Healthychildren.org: Fruit Juice and Your Child's Diet
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Orange Juice, Chilled, Includes from Concentrate, Fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Estimated Average Requirements
- Pediatrics: The Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatrics
- Healthychildren.org: Food Allergy Reactions