Ask Amelia Nutrition

Juice: Healthy or Unhealthy?

is juice healthy

Whether or not juice is healthy is an old question that’s not always clearly answered.  Here’s how I would sum it up:

Unless you’re trying to gain weight, it’s always better to eat fruit than to drink fruit juice, even if it’s 100% fruit juice.  The average 8 oz glass of juice has 130 calories, but does not fill you up like 130 calories of food would.  For 130 calories, you could instead have:

2 whole oranges

1 extra large apple

2 small pears

8 apricots

40 grapes

2 large peaches

1.5 cups blueberries

2.5 cups sliced strawberries

All of these examples offer a bigger volume of food (which will satisfy your appetite more) and significantly more fiber (fiber helps you stay fuller for longer) than juice does.  So next time you have a hankering for some juice, reach for a glass of water instead, and if you’re still hungry, have some fruit.

Is Juice Healthy for Kids?

While 100% fruit juice is a healthier choice than soda, it’s not that much better.  And it tends to spoil young kids appetites, so they’re less likely to eat a balanced meal if they’re drinking juice at or between meals.  So get in the habit of offering your kids water frequently, or milk if they want something other than water.  Then follow the advice above about offering them whole fruit for snacks, which will be healthier and more satisfying for them.

If You Love Juice…

  • Limit yourself to one 6 oz glass per day
  • Dilute juice by half with water, which will satisfy your craving but be less caloric and more hydrating
  • Transition into 100% vegetable juice or tomato juice (like low-sodium V8)
  • Add a splash of juice to sparkling water along with a squeeze of lemon or lime
  • Keep a pitcher of “spa water” in the fridge (water with lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, etc)

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