Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Milk vs Juice

I drink water. A cool glassful on it's own, or often I'll add a frozen lemon wedge or a squirt of lemon juice. It's so refreshing! It's the perfect drink to rehydrate or accompany any meal. I rarely drink anything else. (Except my guilty pleasure of chocolate milk.) So, naturally I want Tesla to drink water too. And she does! But I think that she needs some liquid calories too.

My pediatrician recommended she drink no more than 16 oz of milk a day, (or 2 cups if you understand metric better.) He made no mention of what she should drink at other times and we never talked about juice.

I was doing some research online and from multiple sites I read that children should drink unlimited amounts of milk and water, but only 4-6 oz of 100% juice. They claim that juice has too much sugar and too many calories compared to milk and that drinking sugary drinks all the time can fill their little bellies leaving not enough room for real food. Also, the more sugary drinks a child has per day, the more likely the child will be obese.

For the past month, Tesla has been drinking:
10 oz of 3% milk a day
5 oz of Bolthouse Farms 100% fruit juice smoothie (assorted varieties) and
5 oz of Bolthouse Farms 100% Carrot juice daily.

She eats 4 meals a day, so at each meal I offer a cup of milk or juice to drink and the rest of the time she has water. I see milk and juice as a supplement to the meal. She's been drinking her food for her whole life, so I see milk and juice as an extension of that. She can quickly and easily get some of the calories and nutrition she needs without having to spend all that extra time in her high chair.

But I still can't wrap my head around why milk is "healthier" than juice. Why should I cut out one of her juices and replace it with milk? Honestly, I don't believe one is necessarily better than the other. They both have their place. Yes, the juice has twice as much sugar, but it's natural sugar she would have eaten anyway had I fed her all the ingredients in the juice raw.

I think the reason why whole milk is pushed over juice is because A) Dairy is a made up food group that we don't need to consume, but it happens to employ a lot of people and many people make a profit off dairy farming, and B) there is fat in milk and infants and toddlers require a high fat diet for proper growth and development, but so many children exist on carbohydrates, their milk is the only thing they consume that has fat in it.

Tesla eats a high fat diet just like her parents do. The only foods we have trouble getting her to eat are non-starchy vegetables. (She tries a bite or two, but usually just spits it out.) She'll eat them if they're mixed into her omelet, or blended into a drink or smoothie though. It just makes sense for me to give her 100% fruit and vegetable juice. She doesn't need more milk.

Raising a primal baby is so much harder than raising a SAD baby. When she's bugging me for a pre-dinner snack, I can't just throw some goldfish crackers or a cheerios into a bowl to distract her. Any of the acceptable foods to give her are either messy or a choking hazard, except for a stick of cheese, but sometimes she's already had cheese, so there's a fine line between how many ounces of cheese I want her to eat in a day. Filling up a sippy cup with 100% Orange-Carrot juice... vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium... that's pretty quick and easy for an appetizer and damn nutritious too.

As she gets older the juice will be less necessary because she'll be eating more well rounded. I don't think I'm making her at risk for being obese by feeding her twice the daily recommended limit for juice. She's tall and her weight is average, plus we brush her teeth every day. She eats a hell of a lot better than most other kids I've met, and she eats more variety too.
Only time will tell if I'm making a good, healthy choice for my daughter.

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