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New US beverage guidelines for young children: Healthy Drinks Healthy Kids

A panel of experts from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Paediatrics, the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry and the American Heart Association, under the leadership of nutrition research organization Healthy Eating Research, have produced beverage guidelines for children from birth to age five.

Drinks recommended

  • 0-6 Months: Breast milk or infant formula.
  • 6-12 Months: Breast milk or infant formula; small amounts of plain drinking water introduced once solid foods become part of diet.
  • 12-24 Months: Whole milk and plain drinking water.
  • 2-5 Years: Skim or low-fat milk and plain drinking water.

Drinks to avoid or limit

  • Infants 6-12 months: avoid fruit juice and cow’s milk
  • Infants 12-24 months: avoid fruit juice
  • Toddlers 1-3 years: limit 100% fruit juice to ½ cup per day (adding water makes a little go a long way).
  • 4-5 years: limit 100% fruit juice to ½-3/4 cup per day (adding water makes a little go a long way).
  • 6 months-5 years: avoid flavoured milk, transition/toddler formula, plant-based non-dairy milk*, caffeinated drinks, low kilojoule sweetened drinks and sugar-sweetened drinks (soft drink, fruit drink, cordial, sports drink).

*With the exception of fortified soy-milk, many plant based milk alternatives lack key nutrients found in dairy milk. Unsweetened and fortified non-dairy milks may be a good choice if a child is allergic to dairy, lactose intolerant, or is in a family that does not eat dairy products- consult a health care provider to help choose the best non-dairy milk.

The project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, under their Healthy Eating Research arm.

You can find the website and resources here.


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