And hydrate your kids with plain, old-fashioned, high quality H2O!
Since my first son was a baby, I had a thing against juice. I kind of felt like it was liquid sugar, only going to cause problems with his teeth and offer limited nutritional advantages. Turns out my hunch is pretty spot on.
According to the HealthyChildren.org website:
"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that fruit juice not be given to infants under six months of age since it offers no nutritional benefit to babies in this age group. After six months of age, infants may have limited amounts of juice each day. For youngsters older than six months, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit. Whole fruits also provide fiber and other nutrients. Infants should not be given fruit juice at bedtime, nor as a treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea. For children ages one to six years old, limit fruit juice consumption to 4 to 6 ounces (120–180 ml) each day."
Do yourself a favor and avoid it early! Otherwise, it is a pain to try to convince them later that water is better (especially when they have had the chance to taste the sweet stuff). Stick with water for hydration and they'll never miss the juice. Give them plenty of fruits when they are old enough to eat solids and you will be giving your child the gift of healthy habits early!
For my son now? Juice boxes are reluctant treats that I allow only when we are out on playdates and other moms offer it to him--and in those cases I make sure they are 100% juice with no additives. Honestly, pack your kid a water bottle! It will save you money if you just use a reuseable bpa-free water bottle and you won't need to worry about the juice boxes!
The only case that I actually buy juice is when the whole school seems to have a cold during cold/flu season. I will cave occasionally and buy some orange juice (with pulp) to boost his immune system. Otherwise, I stick to water!
In health and wellness,