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Information for Vegan Children on Alternative Milks & Other Drinks

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

Other Drinks

Diluted 100% fruit juice is a useful source of vitamin C. Children can be given a glass of diluted fruit juice (half fruit juice and half water) with their main meal or with breakfast, as fruit juice may also help the body to absorb iron. Pure orange juice is the best option as it is higher in vitamin C than other juices.

Fruit juice should not be given to children undiluted or in individual cartons. Also, the sugars in fresh fruit juice can damage teeth, so fruit juices should not be given between meals.

Children should be discouraged from having fizzy drinks, squashes (including smoothies and sweetened non-dairy milks – including diet, non-diet, no-added-sugar and low-sugar varieties – as these can erode the tooth enamel and contribute to tooth decay. Also, these drinks provide little in the way of nutrients, and children who drink them frequently may have less appetite to eat well at meal times.

Children aged 1-4 years should not be given drinks containing artificial sweeteners (such as saccharin and aspartame), or drinks which contain the preservative or artificial colors.

Children should not be given tea, coffee, cola or other drinks that contain caffeine or other stimulants, as these disrupt children’s sleep. Tea and coffee are also not suitable drinks for under-5s as they contain tannic acid, which interferes with iron absorption. If you want to give children hot drinks, warmed unsweetened calcium-fortified soya milk alternative may be given instead.

Children should never be given sweet drinks (such as fruit juice, smoothies, sweetened non-dairy milk alternatives and other soft drinks) from a bottle, as this is the most common way that children’s teeth become damaged. Bottles given before bed or during the night are highly related to the most damaging form of tooth decay in children.



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