Drink boxes, also called juice boxes have been a staple in kids’ lunchboxes for a long. Juice boxes provide nutrition and hydration to kids and help them get through their day at school. However, the question remains: Are drink boxes good or bad for kids?
Experts say that it is not good for anyone, including kids to drink too many high-calorie, high-sugar beverages. And juice boxes seem to fall in this category. As such, parents are beginning to look past these mighty boxes.
But then, as kids go to school, parents are still faced with the dilemma of packing juice boxes in their kids’ lunchbox or not. Children generally love sweet things so they would most likely ask for “their” sugary beverages. So should you give these boxes to your kids or not?
To say the truth, you should be more concerned about your kids’ overall health. So you must regulate their intake of juice boxes in such a way that healthy amounts are incorporated into their already healthy diet.
To start with, some drink boxes offer great flavor and real nutrition. But there are some fads out there too. Some of these fads make bogus promises. Your job as a parent would be to figure out juice boxes with real nutrition. Those are the ones you can give your kid.
Remember that the serving size is also still very important. Even if the juice contains real nutrition, too much would not be good. We will talk about this and many more as you read on.
Are Drink Boxes Bad for Your Kid’s Diet?
The answer to this question would be Yes and No. In other words, it depends on what brand you are getting and the serving size you are giving your kid.
Small-sized drink boxes are good. And according to the USDA, 100% juice would count towards the daily recommendations for fruit consumption.
More so, if you give a 100% juice drink to your kid, you would be boosting his or her vitamin C intake. Kids use this antioxidant nutrient even more than adults. But remember that there are safety limits guidelines on how much juice you should give your child.
Experts say that you should never give fruit juice to infants below one-year-old. But if your kid is between 1-6 years, you can give him or her fruit juice. However, make sure not to exceed six ounces daily.
Older children, between ages 7 and 18 should limit their consumption to about 8-12 ounces daily. Ideally, this total daily intake should not be taken at once. You should divide it into 2 servings.
Excess intake of juice beyond these recommended limits can cause weight gain, as well as diarrhea, teeth cavities, and malnutrition. Thankfully, many drink boxes marketed for kids are between 4-7 ounces. This makes it easy to help your kids stay within limits.
If you allow your kids to drink as many juice boxes as they like, their body would only be filled with water, lots of sugar, and some vitamin-C. Beyond these, there’s nothing else in drink boxes.
And then, not all beverages or juices marketed for kids are 100% vegetable or fruit juice. Do you know what this means? Juices that are not 100% would contain lots of added sugar and load up your child these added sugars. This is not healthy.
More so, there can be a problem if you feel that you can replace fruits with juice. Even 100% fruit juice will not give you the same nutritional benefits as whole fruit. So you should still prioritize whole fruit. They contain fiber, as well as other nutrients that juice might not have.
So far, the conclusion we have reached is that drink boxes might be added to your kids’ already balanced die. But ensure that you are only giving your kids 100% juice and stay within the recommended daily limits.
If there are personal concerns about how fruit juice might affect your child’s health, you should speak with your child’s pediatrician. This expert would know your child’s specific case and would be able to give you better guidance.
How to Add Drink Boxes into Your Kid’s Healthy Diet
1. Prioritize your family mealtimes
Sit with your kids at the dining table during meals. This helps to establish healthy food eating habits for your kids. This is more important at dinner after they return from school. More so, this simple routine also makes them feel loved and safe.
2. Monitor what your kids eat
Teens and older kids generally spend lots of time out of the home. So they have higher chances of eating in school than at home. They would also sometimes eat at their friends’ houses.
You might not be sure how many drink boxes your kids have taken out there before coming home. So when they get back, chat with them and kindly find out what they have eaten. If they didn’t eat healthily, find wise ways to encourage them towards better habits.
3. Live by example
You can’t teach your kids about healthy eating while you are breaking all the rules yourself. So show them by example what it means to eat healthy meals. They are more likely t follow your example than what you are saying.
4. Juice boxes don’t mean love
There are better ways to reward your kids and show that you love them than by giving them juice boxes. Find better ways to show them affection. Hugs, attention, praise, and other gifts are better alternatives.
5. Get your kids involved
Let your kids follow you to get groceries and allow them to choose the foods by themselves. As they do, teach them about reading food labels. That is a good way to sensitize them about the nutritional value of different foods. It would help them make better choices.
Your kids might pester you for not-so nutritious foods, such as drink boxes. But make sure you give them 100% juices and keep their intake within the recommended limits. Also, don’t forget to get juice whose taste your kid likes.