While we know the importance of eating well, it’s just as important to ensure our kids are having the right drinks.
Sugar sweetened drinks, like soft drink, iced tea, sports drinks, cordial, energy drinks and fruit drinks are attractive to kids but can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar in one serve. Dietitians refer to these drinks as having ‘empty kilojoules’ because they provide little to no nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, but are high in kilojoules (calories). These types of drinks can lead to weight gain and can cause tooth decay.
Here are our recommendations for the best beverage choices for your kids:
- Plain water is the best drink for kids. It’s cheap and quenches your thirst.
- Water flavoured with slices of lemon, cucumber, strawberries or mint makes for a change. For the lunch box add some berries or cucumber slices to a bottle of water and freeze.
- Milk blended with fresh or frozen fruit for a delicious, filling smoothie. Try our berrylicious smoothie.
- Plain milk provides calcium that is so important for bones and teeth. Kids need milk every day. If you need to have a non-dairy milk alternative, ensure it is supplemented with at least 100mg calcium per 100mls.
- Frappes made with ice and blended frozen fruit make for a nice treat and are also packed with fibre.
What about fruit juice?
While fruit juice is made from fruit, the juicing process means that most of the fibre is lost. It’s better to eat your fruit whole as it is more satisfying and contains more nutrients and fibre.
If you choose to have fruit juice, have only a small serve (1/2 cup), occasionally and consider diluting with ice or water. As juice is not the best option for kids try to avoid including juice poppers in the lunch box, save them for a treat instead.
What about teeth?
Sugary drinks can feed the bacteria in our mouth that causes tooth decay. By drinking plenty of water and skipping sugary drinks you can protect teeth against tooth decay.