We pay a lot of attention to what we’re feeding our kids and try to make healthy choices, but are we extending our efforts to watching what they’re drinking as well? A lot of the calories and nutrition our kids get come from drinks, so it’s important to make the best choices in this area of their diet. As it turns out, the answer to the best drinks is pretty simple: milk and water.
Cutting Out Sugar
The American Heart Association recommends that young kids eat less than four teaspoons of sugar a day, but most kids eat many, many times that amount. A lot of the added sugar kids eat comes in the form of candy, sweets, and juice. Replacing servings of juice with water can significantly cut sugar consumption for most kids. When you do serve them juice, water it down to a 50/50 ratio to lessen their intake. Stick to 100% juice instead of artificially sweetened varieties to limit sugar intake as well. This will help to keep their bodies healthy and their teeth cavity free.
Superior Nutritional Value
Sugary drinks like soda pop are just empty calories. They don’t support healthy growth or provide kids with the nutrients they need to develop physically and mentally. One of the most important nutrients that kids need to sustain growth is calcium, and it can be provided through plenty of milk. Depending on their age, kids need between 700 and 1300 milligrams of calcium a day to support healthy teeth and bones. The dietary recommendation is for children to get between 2-3 cups of milk or other dairy product per day to help them meet their calcium requirements. Sugary drinks can crowd out the much-needed healthy choices like milk and water, so just skip them as often as you can.
Establishing Healthy Habits
The way you feed your kids when they’re little sets a standard for their eating habits throughout their lifetime. Kids who get used to drinking soda pop and other sweet drinks at a young age are much more likely to continue those habits into adulthood. Poor childhood nutrition sharply increases the risk for obesity later in life, which comes along with a wide range of other health problems. When you make healthy choices for your kids now, you’re equipping them to make healthy choices for themselves later on.