It is vitally important for kids to stay hydrated, especially in the warm summer months. But it is also important that kids are drinking the right beverages that are nourishing and refreshing without being unhealthy. High amounts of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients can be harmful to your child’s teeth, temperament, behavior, and developing body.
Keep reading to learn more about which drinks to buy, which drinks to avoid, and how you can make sure your kids are getting the most out of their beverages.
Drinks to Avoid
The choices you make for your child today will have a lasting impact on their dietary choices and their health for many years to come. It is important to avoid giving kids beverages that are less than beneficial or even harmful to their developing minds and bodies.
Fruit juice, sports drinks, and sodas are some of the worst culprits when it comes to sugar intake. Avoid drinks like these that provide high amounts of sugar and calories with little to no nutritional value. Kids should also avoid beverages like coffee or tea that contain caffeine.
Healthy Drinks for Kids
So with all of the “bad” options available at the supermarket, what should kids be drinking?
The CDC and AAP both recommend that toddlers and young children drink at least 16 ounces of milk and up to 40 ounces of water per day.
Fruit juice can be high in sugar, but it can also be a great source of vitamins and minerals that your developing child needs. While water is always best, small amounts of juice given daily shouldn’t be too harmful. However, try to limit juice to 4 ounces per day for toddlers and 6-8 ounces per day for older children, and offer brands that contain 100% juice whenever possible.
Tips for Parents
When possible, purchase drinks for your kids that are organic or use only natural ingredients.
When it comes to fruit juice, some sugar is unavoidable since there are naturally occurring sugars in all fruit. But you can avoid making it worse by avoiding brands that add even more sugar. Parents should learn how to read food labels and avoid purchasing drinks with added sugar or ingredients like high fructose corn syrup. In addition, some kid’s drinks add food coloring and artificial dyes that can lead to hyperactivity and other health complications.
Another option is to water down fruit juice with equal parts water and juice or make your own fresh squeezed juice at home. This helps ensure that your child isn’t getting too much sugar.
No matter what beverage you select, make sure that your child brushes their teeth after every sugary drink and does not fall asleep with a bottle or sippy. These healthy habits can help prevent the development of childhood cavities and other oral health problems.
If you have questions about your child’s health or diet, give us a call today to schedule an appointment with your local pediatricians in Arvada & Westminster!