Most kids love to drink sweetened beverages. Take a look at the drink aisles in the supermarkets and you will soon realise that they have many choices to pick from.
While the main reason to drink beverages is to include water in the diet, most choices available provide more calories than nutrients for your kids. Look at the ingredient list for each drink and study the nutrition information panel, to distinguish the smarter and better beverage choices.
Here are some general guidelines to know, so that your kids stay healthily hydrated.
Make sure your child has an average of six to eight glasses of water every day of the week. The fluids could come from water per se, or a variety of other liquid options such as soups and juices. Fruits and vegetables come with high water-content too, so be sure that kids have adequate amounts of these healthy foods.
Kids need to drink up to 2 glasses (250 ml per glass) of milk each day1 as part of a well-balanced diet. Milk provides protein and calcium as well as a host of other important nutrients that are important for a growing child. Colour and flavour milk to add variety to this daily staple and to make it an appealing part of the diet.
Whenever possible, select juices with no added sugar. Juice contains all of the sugar but none of the healthy fibre that comes from fruit, so try to limit fruit juice to one glass a day2. Encourage your child to eat more fruits instead as these contain more fibre.
These can be used as the occasional treat. Served in small portions, these beverages should not replace other more nutrient-dense fluids in your child’s diet.
1Health Promotion Board. Retrieved on August 28, 2015 from: http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/article?id=2638.
2WebMD. Retrieved on August 28, 2015 from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/juicing-health-risks-and-benefits.