When it comes to healthy eating, many of us tend to overlook the healthy drinking aspect – we tend to consume so many calories unnoticed from what we drink. Healthy drinks for kids are as important as a healthy diet. We look at how parents can ensure that their child drinks as well as eats healthy.
Get the child used to water
Among healthy drinks for kids, water has to be the healthiest. It is what the body needs constantly. It contains no calories and it doesn’t rot teeth.
Plus if a child has been used to drinking water rather than sweetened beverages, he or she will delight in the taste of water – a chilled glass of water on a hot day will feel so heavenly that your child will not crave those unhealthy, sugary, fizzy drinks.
So make sure that your child is used to drinking simple, plain water – when thirsty, with a meal or whenever.
Use skim milk and milk products
Milk is important for children – it contains calcium and protein as well as other nutrients. However, full fat milk also contains a lot of unnecessary calories. So make skim milk part of your child’s diet – a nutritious option for parents looking for healthy drinks for kids.
And don’t forget to go for skim or low fat milk products as well: cheeses, yoghurts and so on.
Don’t assume it’s healthy
Restaurant beverages and packaged drinks may be marketed as ‘health’ products, or ‘sports’ products or energy drinks. Don’t assume that these are healthy and don’t include them in your list of healthy drinks for kids. So-called health drinks are laden with sugar, or artificial sweeteners and perhaps even other additives. If energy drinks give you that burst of energy, this is usually because of the sugar content.
Think soups, smoothies and unsweetened juices
Soups containing real veggies and unprocessed meats, smoothies and whole fruit juices are the most healthy drinks for kids. You can make soups nutritious and healthy by adding lots of finely chopped or pureed vegetables, chunks of healthy meats etc. This makes a soup a healthy and filling meal by itself. Try and make the soup at home rather than used packaged or canned varieties – these tend to contain a lot of salt and other preservatives.
Fruit or vegetable smoothies are another option for parents to explore with their kids. When it comes to fruit, eating it whole is the best. The next best is to get whole fruit juices that have no added sugar. A majority of packaged juices tend to have a lot of sugar added to them so read the nutrition and ingredient lists carefully.
Try and cut out the sodas completely
Sodas and other sweetened beverages are quite simply empty calories. They have sugar, artificial colors and flavors; but no nutrition. These certainly are not healthy drinks for kids. It’s a good idea not to offer them to kids in the first place. Offer water or milk every time they are thirsty – there is really never any need for a child to have sweet, fizzy drinks. So don’t let them develop a taste for them.