Q: Is fruit juice a contributor to childhood obesity?
A: Though many have wondered about this question, there is much research examining the relationship between fruit juice and childhood obesity. A 2008 review in The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine looked at 21 recent studies to determine if 100 percent fruit juice consumption was related to child obesity. The authors reported these conclusions:
• Fruit juice is a significant source of vitamins and minerals in children’s diets and contributes to a nutrient-dense diet;
• 100 percent fruit juice drinkers have better diets overall than those children and adolescents who do not drink juice;
• 100 percent fruit juice is an important way for children and adolescents to get part of the daily recommended fruit servings; and
• Juice consumption is not associated with child obesity.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for juice intake provide practical guideline for parents. Children 1 to 6 years of age should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day. The AAP recommends that children 7 to 18 years should be limited to 8 to 12 ounces of juice per day.
Q: How long can I keep milk and baby foods in a refrigerator or freezer?
A: Here’s a listing of how long to store baby foods and milk:
• Breast milk: up to 5 days refrigerated, up to two weeks frozen.
• Prepared formula: 1 to 2 days refrigerated, not recommended frozen.
• Strained fruits and vegetables: 2 to 3 days refrigerated, 6 to 8 months frozen.
• Strained meats and eggs: 1 day refrigerated, 1 to 2 months frozen.
• Meat/vegetable combinations: 1 to 2 days refrigerated, 1 to 2 months frozen.
• Homemade baby foods: 1 to 2 days refrigerated, up to 3 months frozen.
Also, when preparing and storing, make sure to follow these proper food safety guidelines:
• Keep it clean. To help prevent germs from growing in milk and baby foods, keep your hands, utensils and counters clean while handling bottles and foods. For instance, wash your hands well with soap and water after petting an animal, using the restroom or handling a diaper.
• Breast milk. When expressing breast milk, collect it in sterilized small plastic bottles or liners. To freeze, leave 1 inch of space at the top of the storage container to allow for expansion during freezing. Put the date on the container. Use the oldest milk first.
• Bottles and solids: Twice is not nice. If baby does not finish a bottle, do not put it in the refrigerator to use for another time. Germs from baby’s mouth are transferred onto the bottle nipple and into the milk. They can grow in the milk and make baby sick. To avoid waste, offer small bottles of formula or breast milk. Similarly, if baby does not finish all of the solid food that you spoon fed directly from a container of baby food, do not put the container in the refrigerator to use for another time. To avoid waste, spoon out the desired amount of baby food into a separate feeding dish. Repeat as needed, using a clean spoon in the container.
• Safety first. After two hours at room temperature, discard remaining milk or baby food. If room temperature is 90 degrees or hotter, discard after one hour.
— Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.