A few years ago, my friend and I took our kids to a park. After playing for a while, the kids got hungry and demanded food. I looked into my bag and realized that I had left the tiffin box at home. But, my friend, fortunately was carrying hers. She took out 2 tetra packs of mixed fruit juice and a big pack of biscuits.
“I got juice and oat biscuits, at least kids will have something healthy than those chips!” She announced. I chose to stay silent. My daughter was hungry, and I didn’t have anything else to offer to her. So, she got a treat of packaged juice and biscuits.
On reaching home, I narrated the whole incident to my husband. Shock, indignation and disappointment were writ large on his face.
“This country is doomed forever if its educated citizens think that packaged juices and oatmeal biscuits that come out of a packet are healthy for kids!” He cried.
See at the back of any tetra pack containing fruit juice – it would say natural fruit sugars and added sugar. Natural fruit sugars is fructose and added sugar as we all know is pure white sugar. Also, there is no mention of any fibre of the fruit, because the juice contains none. So, basically, we are giving our kids an overdose of sugars. It causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly resulting in a burst of energy that is short lived. High blood sugar levels cause the body to store the excess energy as fat. Also, once the sugar gets stored in the body, the blood sugar levels come down leaving the child tired and cranky. So, giving a packaged fruit juice to your child doesn’t the purpose.
But, wait it doesn’t get over here. Learn what all it can do to your child.
As the blood sugar levels come down, the body craves for more sugar that it just lost. So, the child will start demanding for sweet stuff. You got him or her into this vicious cycle!
Juices are overloaded with calories, empty ones. Your child is not getting fibre, or enough protein and healthy fat out of these. No wonder, we see child obesity and type 2 diabetes on a rise in India. Juices, cola and sweets all contribute to it!
And to all those who say juice contains real fruit, no…it doesn’t! It contains fructose-concentrate juice. 1 orange juice (200 ml) = goodness (what does it even mean) of 3-4 oranges (yes, I read it on the advert of a popular “no added sugar” orange juice…it said 17 oranges for 1000 ml pack!!). 1 apple juice (200 ml) = 4-5 medium sized apples.
Now, tell me honestly, can our kids eat so many oranges and apples at a time. No, right! Then, why are we feeding them so many fruits in the form of juice?
My daughter loves juices so much, she can finish the entire 200 ml pack without taking a pause. Yes, kids love sugar…don’t they just! However, I restrict these juices to occasions…she can have them as treats at birthday parties or at picnics.
I have stopped giving her homemade juice as well. Why?
Simple rule – drink not what you can eat!
If she can eat 2-3 oranges and 2 apples, I have told her, she can have her juice, which hasn’t happened so far! So…..
It’s not only about fruit juices, but pretty much about everything that we eat and feed our kids. Let’s be informed before we put stuff in our kid’s mouth. Parenting is not only about sending kids to the best of schools and classes, buying them the best of toys…but it is also about feeding them the best foods.
Oh, and now I always make sure I am carrying a dabba of snacks from home!