It turns out that the secret to baby and toddler nutrition is apple juice. Can’t get your young one to drink enough water? Offer them apple juice. Can’t get your toddler to eat oatmeal? Make it with apple juice instead of water.
100% Pure Apple Juice
Let’s start at the beginning. You want 100% apple juice. Not apple juice drink, not apple juice beverage, 100% apple juice only. Juice manufacturers are sneaky and are constantly trying to fool parents (and others) into thinking that they are getting good high quality juice when they are not. So, the only way to be sure is to check the ingredients list. It should say Apple Juice, and nothing else. If it says grape juice, or sugar, or heaven forbid, high fructose corn syrup, put it back on the shelf and buy something else, no matter what the price difference is. Otherwise, you are buying apple flavored sugar water, and the only thing that does is start your baby on the road to fatty town.
Once you have the right juice (remember Apple Juice as the only ingredient), you are ready to implement the Apple Juice Contingency. The apple juice contingency works by using apple juice to provide a sweet and pleasant flavor for your baby in a way that does no harm to them. In the oatmeal example above, the apple juice gives the oatmeal a sweet flavor without using sugar. As for getting baby to drink, apple juice is a desired drink for most young ones. Worried about giving them too much juice? No problem. Dilute the apple juice. A 50/50 apple juice water mix will still be just fine for most young ones. Many will be happy with even weaker blends. 30/70 isn’t uncommon to be fully accepted as “juice”. The good news is that your toddler is getting plenty of water along with that juice, and at that rate of consumption you have nothing to worry about calories and sugar wise as long as we aren’t talking about 8 cups a day.
The only caution required is getting your son or daughter used to drinking only juice. You know they are getting plenty of water, but they don’t. You don’t want them getting it in their minds that they only like juice, so be sure to offer plenty of milk and water as well. In fact, insist that they drink milk and water on a regular basis.
This technique can be used with other juices, but apple juice is what is considered a “clear liquid". In other words, there isn’t really anything in apple juice to interfere with absorption of other food stuffs, and it won’t really fill up your baby making them full instead of eating. You know this from your own experience. If you just came in from a long bike ride on a hot day and there was no water only apple juice or orange juice, which would you choose to help your thirst? The apple juice because it is lighter and closer to water. Same thing for baby.