Is my 33-month-old drinking too much juice?
The short answer is "Yes. You should limit his juice." The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued guidelines about the role of juice in children's diets. While juice contains some vitamin C and carbohydrates, and sometimes calcium, it has little else of nutritional value, such as fiber, protein, minerals, or fat. Juice can also contain artificial flavors, extra sweeteners, and other ingredients that are not the most desirable. Finally, drinking juice can satisfy children's appetites, filling them up so that they do not drink enough milk or eat enough other, more nutrient-dense foods such as fruit itself.
The AAP guidelines state that
children under 6 months be given no fruit juice at all;
children 6 months to 1 year should not get juice at bedtime and should not get juice from bottles or cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day;
children between 1 and 6 years old be limited to 4 to 6 ounces per day; and
children 7 to 18 years old should drink only 8 to 12 ounces daily.
It may be hard to change your son's habits cold turkey. Start by gradually watering down his juice so that he ends up drinking mostly water, and then offer milk at meals.