Kids love apples; according to a study, Fruit Consumption by Youth in the United States, apples account for 18.9% of fruit intake among youth aged 2 to 19 years. Bananas are second in popularity, and melons third. Kids are also meeting their daily recommended serving of whole fruit (1 to 2 cups), consuming about 1.25 cups a day (53% of their total fruit intake).
While it’s great news that kids are consuming whole fruit, the study, which analyzed data from 3,219 youth, shows that juice doesn’t trail far behind: More than a third of kids’ total fruit intake comes from fruit juices, which are high in sugar, low in fiber, and damaging to the teeth. Excessive juice consumption has also been shown to contribute to childhood obesity.
“It’s simultaneously horrifying and not at all shocking that a full third of all ‘fruit’ being consumed by children is in juice form, a number that leaps to 40.9% in the under 5 crowd,” Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, tells Forbes.
“Juice is primarily water with a great deal of free sugar and hence is more fairly compared with soda, than the fruit it once came from.”
Freedhoff’s reminder is that if you don’t have to chew it to eat it, it’s not a fruit. Let’s buy more of the whole fruits kids love. Including them in the process can make a difference: Take them shopping with you, show them how to pick out the tastiest fruits, and prepare it with and for them in salads, frozen creations, or cut-up shapes. And don’t forget about apple picking!
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