Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best beverages for thirsty kids

It's important for children to drink enough fluid during these hot summer days. Numerous studies have linked intake of sugary sweet beverages to childhood overweight and obesity, so choose your drinks wisely.

Water is the best choice for all-day sipping. Keep a thermos, water bottle, or sippy cup of water for each of your kids in an easy-to-reach spot all day. These are our bottles and cups lined up and ready to go!

I just saw these adorable and convenient refillable bottles from The Container Store on a friend's blog – a great find for families with older children! If your kids get bored of plain water, try adding a small slice of their favorite fruit for flavor.
Children need 3-4 servings of skim or lowfat milk per day (or the equivalent as cheese, yogurt, or other sources of calcium). A serving of milk is 6 ounces for children aged 1-3, and 8 ounces for kids aged 3 and up and adults.

You can brew decaf iced tea to keep on hand for older children and teenagers -- add lemon, orange, or other fruits to each cup for a unique and delicious summery drink.

Fruit juice is fine for occasional drinks, but it's best to stick to 4-8 ounces of 100% fruit juice per day. It's fine to water it down for a bigger drink, but avoid sipping on juice (even diluted juice) all day to reduce the risk of cavities.

Avoid soda and sports drinks – they are called “liquid candy” by public health officials. These drinks contribute too much added sugar to kids' diets, contributing to weight gain and poor dental health.

Foods contain fluid, too! If your child doesn't feel like drinking try adding one of the following to their meals (from the August 2010 issue of Parenting Magazine):
  • fruits and vegetables: contain 70-95 percent water
  • yogurt: 80 percent water
  • oatmeal, beans, couscous, pasta: absorb more than 50 percent of their weight in water during cooking.

My friend (and supermom) Erin Green Kelly makes homemade popsicles to keep on hand for her thirsty 2-year-old all summer. She was kind enough to share some of her favorites (just blend/puree and freeze in a simple popsicle mold):
  • strawberries and bananas blended with a little orange juice
  • blueberries blended with a little apple juice
  • peaches and mangoes blended with a little apple juice
  • mangoes and bananas blended with a little pineapple juice
And for a really easy popsicle, just dilute 100% juice and add it to the molds with a couple of chunks of strawberries or any other fruit.

Today's tip: Keep hot kids hydrated all summer with cool (and healthy) drinks and foods.

Please note: I am not being paid to endorse The Container Store's products.

No comments:

Post a Comment