Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.2 General Requirements

4.2.0 100% Fruit Juice

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 11/9/2017. 


Fruit or vegetable juice may be served once per day during a scheduled meal or snack to children 12 months or older (1). All juices should be pasteurized and 100% juice without added sugars or sweeteners.


Maximum Allowed (1)
  0–12 mo  
Do not offer juices to infants younger than 12 months.
  1–3 y
Limit consumption to 4 oz/day (½ cup).
4–6 y
Limit consumption to 4–6 oz/day (½–¾ cup).
7–18 y
Limit consumption to 8 oz/day (1 cup).

100% juice should be offered in an age-appropriate cup instead of a bottle (2). These amounts include any juices consumed at home.  Caregivers/teachers should ask parents/guardians if any juice is provided at home when deciding if and when to serve fruit juice to children in care. Whole fruit, mashed or pureed, is recommended for infants beginning at 4 months of age or as developmentally ready (3).

While 100% fruit juice can be included in a healthy eating pattern, whole fruit is more nutritious and provides many nutrients, including dietary fiber, not found in juices (4).

Limiting overall juice consumption and encouraging children to drink water in-between meals will reduce acids produced by bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay. The frequency of exposure and liquids being pooled in the mouth are important in determining the cause of tooth decay in children (5). Beverages labeled as “fruit punch,” “fruit nectar”, or “fruit cocktail” contain less than 100% fruit juice and may be higher in overall sugar content. Routine consumption of fruit juices does not provide adequate amounts of vitamin E, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber—all essential in the growth and development of young children (6). Continuous consumption of fruit juice may be associated with decreased appetite during mealtimes, which may lead to inadequate nutrition, feeding issues, and increases in a child’s body mass index—all of which are considered risk factors that may contribute to childhood obesity (7).

Serving pasteurized juice protects against the possible outbreak of foodborne illness because the process destroys any harmful bacteria that may have been present (8).

 Drinks high in sugar and caffeine should be avoided because they can contribute to childhood obesity, tooth decay, and poor nutrition (9).
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Routine Oral Hygiene Activities Oral Health Education Categories of Foods Availability of Drinking Water Introduction of Age-Appropriate Solid Foods to Infants
  1. Heyman MB, Abrams SA; American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and Committee on Nutrition. Fruit juice in infants, children, and adolescents: current recommendations. Pediatrics. 2017;139(6):e20170967
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Fruit juice and your child's diet. American Academy of Pediatrics Web site. Updated May 22, 2017. Accessed September 19, 2017
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Starting solid foods. American Academy of Pediatrics Web site. Updated April 7, 2017. Accessed September 19, 2017
  4. US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th ed. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2015. Accessed September 19, 2017
  5. Casamassimo P, Holt K, eds. Bright Futures: Oral Health Pocket Guide. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center; 2016. Accessed September 19, 2017
  6. Crowe-White K, O’Neil CE, Parrott JS, et al. Impact of 100% fruit juice consumption on diet and weight status of children: an evidence-based review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(5):871–884
  7. Shefferly A, Scharf RJ, DeBoer MD. Longitudinal evaluation of 100% fruit juice consumption on BMI status in 2–5?year?old children. Pediatr Obes. 2016;11(3):221–227
  8. US Food and Drug Administration. Talking about juice safety: what you need to know. Updated September 19, 2017. Accessed September 19, 2017
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy schools. The buzz on energy drinks. Updated March 22, 2016. Accessed September 19, 2017.

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 11/9/2017.