Less juice, more water & milk in new guidelines on kids' beverages

For the first time, major health groups have developed one set of guidelines on what kids should drink from birth to age 5.

It's because what they drink from day one has a huge impact on their future health.

The goal is to limit the amount of sugar-sweetened drinks for kids, so the guidelines urge against juice, sweetened beverages, flavored milk, and plant-based milks (almond, rice, oat) which provide no added nutritional value.

The guidelines were created by the Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and other groups.

* For babies up to 6 mos., only breast milk or infant formula is best

*At 6 months, babies should drink mostly breast milk or infant formula - NO fruit juice.

There's a slight change once solid foods are introduced.

"And then add a small amount of water in a sippy cup, to help your baby develop a preference for water. Just a little bit at a time is fine. we don't recommend any juice for children under 1 year of age," says Dr. Natalie Muth, of the Academy of Pediatrics.

Kids under 12 months shouldn't have any sweetened drinks, including fruit juice or flavored milks.

After that, they say "less is best" when it comes to sweetened beverages.

Surveys show nearly half of all kids between ages 2 to 5 get a sugary drink - either juice or a soft drink - every day.

*Toddlers from 1 to 2 years should have whole milk, because it has a host of essential nutrients, along with plain water, for additional hydration.

Up to 4 ounces of juice is ok, as long as it's 100 percent fruit juice, and it should be diluted with water.

"Too much juices adds too many extra sugar and calories to a young child's diet, and can lead to later health problems," says Megan Lott, MPH, RDN, of the Healthy Eating Research group.

Once a child is two-years-old, experts say they don't need as much fat, so they should switch to low-fat or skim milk.

From ages 2 to 5, milk and water should be the go-to beverages.

If you serve 100% fruit juice, stick to a small amount, and add water to make the flavor go a long way.
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