Healthy Drinks for Kids

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Healthy Drinks for Kids

It’s not just getting your child to eat nutritious food that can be challenging; finding healthy drinks that your child will enjoy can be equally challenging. Sugary beverages are often requested by children with their sweet tooth. Nevertheless, their health needs to steer them toward more balanced options. Listed below are 7 healthy drinks kids can drink – as well as 3 beverages they shouldn’t drink.

Healthy Drinks For Your Kids

  1. Water

Water is the first thing that should be given to your child when they tell you they’re thirsty.

Your child’s body relies on water for numerous processes, such as temperature regulation and organ function, so water is essential to health. [1]

The rapidly growing body and higher metabolic rate of children make them more in need of water, regardless of body weight. [2]

It is unlikely that your child will refuse solid food after drinking water since water has no liquid calories. If your child is a picky eater, this may be especially important.

Furthermore, children who drink enough water are likely to be more fit, have a lower risk of developing dental cavities, and exhibit better memory and thinking skills. [3]

Further, dehydration has a variety of negative health implications for your child, including causing constipation, fatigue, and reduced brain function. [4]

Outline

Drinking enough water is crucial for your child’s fitness and health. They should consume the majority of their fluid intake through the water.

  1. Naturally Flavored Water

You may find that your child dislikes plain water if it appears boring.

You can make water more interesting by infusing it with fresh fruits and herbs, without adding extra calories and sugar.

Related: Water Intoxication In Babies: Reasons, Symptoms, and Treatment

There are many flavors that your child would enjoy, so you can try them out all.

Plus, the water is filled with fresh fruit and herbs, which will give your child a boost in nutrition.

Among the best combinations are:

  • Mint and pineapple
  • Watermelon and cucumber
  • Raspberries and blueberries
  • Lemons and strawberries
  • Lime and orange

Let your kids choose the flavor combinations and help to assemble them.

When your child is away from home, reusable water bottles often have embedded infused water, which can help keep them hydrated.

Outline

For fun colors and flavors, provide your child with fresh fruit or herbs to make water enticing.

  1. Coconut Water

Despite containing calories and sugar, coconut water offers a healthier alternative to other drinks such as soda or sports drinks.

Several nutrients, including vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, can be found in coconut water, making it an excellent beverage for young children.

In addition to electrolytes, exercise also drains the body of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium.

Coconut water is a better choice than sugary sports drinks for kids who enjoy sports. [5]

It can also help your child recover from sickness, particularly if they’ve been sick with diarrhea or vomiting.

It is important to read the label carefully when purchasing coconut water and other types of drinking water because some brands contain sugar and artificial flavors.

For children, the best option is always unsweetened coconut water.

Outline

Having coconut water handy for children after a fever or physical activity is a great idea since it is full of nutrients and electrolytes.

  1. Certain Smoothies

Healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and other nutrients can easily be sneaked into your child’s diet through smoothies.

Homemade smoothies are healthier than premade drinks since they are loaded with nutrients and are not loaded with sugar.

Picky eaters may find smoothies particularly useful. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, and cauliflower make great smoothie ingredients.

You can serve the following smoothies to your kids:

  • Pineapple and kale
  • Blueberries and spinach
  • Cauliflower and peaches
  • Beets and strawberries

The recipe is even healthier if you add hemp seeds, cocoa powder, unsweetened coconut, avocados, or flax seeds to the mixture instead of sweetener.

When possible, choose homemade smoothies over those purchased from the grocery store or restaurant.

You can offer smoothies as a snack or with a light meal since they are high in calories.

Outline

You can encourage your child to consume more fruits and vegetables by serving them homemade smoothies.

  1. Unsweetened Milk

Even though many kids prefer milk drinks sweetened with sugar such as chocolate or strawberry milk, unsweetened plain milk is a healthier choice for children.

Many nutrients are present in plain milk, making it an excellent food source for growing and developing children.

Milk, as an example, provides essential nutrients for bone health while providing children with needed calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. [6]

Vitamin D is another essential vitamin for bone health and is often added to milk as an additive.

Most parents give their children fat-free milk, but higher fat milk for younger children may be healthier, as fat is vital for brain development and overall health. [7]

A child’s metabolism is faster than an adult’s, leading to a higher requirement for fat. [8]

Because of these reasons, most children would benefit more from higher-fat milk alternatives, such as 2% fat milk.

Kids who drink too much milk could become full, which could lead to them consuming less food. [9]

Only offer a small amount of milk at mealtime so that your child does not become overly full from milk.

However, many children cannot drink dairy milk because of intolerance. In addition to bloating, diarrhea, gas, rashes, and abdominal cramps, milk intolerance is sometimes accompanied by bloating. [10]

If you believe you may be allergic to milk, consult your pediatrician.

Outline

Among the nutrients that children need, unsweetened dairy milk is among the best. Milk may, however, be intolerant for some children.

  1. Unsweetened Plant-Based kinds of milk

Intolerant kids will benefit greatly from plant-based milk, which is unsweetened and does not contain any added sugar.

In addition to hemp, coconut, almond, cashew, rice, and soy milk, plant-based milk also includes almond, cashew, and rice.

Plant-based milk with added sugars and artificial sweeteners can be just as bad as sweetened dairy milk, which is why it’s best to opt for unsweetened varieties instead.

In addition to low-calorie beverages, unsweetened plant-based milk can be used to make kid-friendly soups and smoothies.

The calories in 1 cup (240 ml) of unsweetened almond milk are less than 40.

You can reduce the likelihood of your child overeating with low-calorie beverages served with meals. A variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are found in many plant-based kinds of milk, which often come fortified with calcium, B12, and vitamin D. [11]

Outline

Almond, hemp and coconut milk are among the plant-based dairy substitutes that are unsweetened, versatile, and healthy.

  1. Certain Herbal Teas

Some herbal teas can be safe and healthy for children, even though they aren’t usually thought of as kids-friendly drinks.

As a caffeine-free, pleasant-tasting alternative to sweetened beverages, herbal teas, such as lemongrass, mint, rooibos, and chamomile, are a fantastic alternative.

Likewise, herbal teas are nutritious and may even relieve the symptoms of anxiety or sickness in young children.

Teas containing chamomile, lemongrass, and yarrow have for decades been used to soothe and calm anxiety in children and adults alike. [12]

Both children and adults have used chamomile to treat gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, gas, diarrhea, and heartburn. [13]

Chamomile may help reduce symptoms of intestinal inflammation as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties. [14]

Children may be given some herbal teas without ill effect. However, you should consult with your pediatrician before giving any herbal tea to your child.

Additionally, children should never be served herbal teas at a boiling temperature since these are powerfully caustic.

Related: Can Kids Drink Green Tea? – Discover It Here

Outline

Children can drink herbal tea instead of sweetened beverages such as chamomile and mint.

Drink in moderation

In addition to the occasional consumption of sweetened beverages, kids should avoid eating sugary drinks regularly.

Several health conditions can occur as a result of eating sweetened beverages, including obesity and dental decay.

  1. Soda and Sweetened Beverages

Sports drinks, sweetened kinds of milk, and sweet teas should be limited in a child’s diet as well as sodas and other sweetened beverages.

Approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar are contained in a 12-ounce serving of regular Coca-Cola (354 ml). [15]

Approximately 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar a day is recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) for children aged 2-18.

Several health studies have demonstrated that kids who consume sweetened drinks are more likely to suffer from serious health conditions, such as diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. [16, 17]

Additionally, kids who drink sweetened beverages are more likely to gain weight and develop cavities. [18, 19]

In addition, flavored milk contains high-fructose corn syrup, an artificial sweetener that is associated with childhood obesity. [20]

Outline

There is a link between sweetened beverages and obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and diabetes, and sugary drinks are high in added sugar.

  1. Juice

100% fruit juice contains essential vitamins and minerals, but children should only consume the recommended amounts of the juice.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children 1 to 6 consume four to six ounces of juice (120-180 ml) every day while children 7 to 18 should consume eight to twelve ounces (235-355) per day.

Usually, 100% fruit juice isn’t linked to weight gain when consumed in such quantities. [21]

Children who consume a lot of fruit juice are at an elevated risk of becoming obese. [22]

Further, studies have found that children who consume fruit juice daily gain weight.

According to a review of 8 studies of children aged 1–6 over 1 year, consuming 100% fruit juice daily is associated with increased weight gain. [23]

The absence of fiber in fruit juice makes it easy for kids to drink excessive amounts of liquid. [24]

Because of this, whole fruit should always be offered to children rather than fruit juice.

Infants under the age of one should not be exposed to juice at all. [25]

Outline

Juice is a source of vitamins and minerals, but whole fruit is preferred over juice.

  1. Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeinated beverages, including soda, coffee, and energy drinks, are popular among kids.

Approximately 75% of U.S. children aged 6–19 consume caffeine, with an average intake of 25 mg per day for children 2–11 years old and twice as much for children 12–17 years old. [26]

Due to its effect on youth, caffeine-containing beverages should be restricted by age. In addition to jitteriness, caffeine can cause high blood pressure, anxiety, and sleep disorders. [27, 28]

Organizations that promote the health of children, like the AAP, recommend that children over the age of 12 consume no more than 85–100 mg of caffeine per day and that children under 12 should not consume any caffeine at all. [29]

The caffeine content of many energy drinks can be over 100 mg per 12oz (354ml) serving, making them unsuitable for kids and adolescents who are likely to be excessive caffeine consumers. [30]

Outline

As a result, you should restrict or even forbid your child from consuming caffeinated beverages due to their ability to cause jitteriness, anxiety, and erratic heart rates.

The Bottom Line

When your children are thirsty, you can offer them a wide range of healthy beverages.

The following examples of kid-friendly beverages are dairy-based and plant-based kinds of milk, certain herbal teas, and infused water.
Choose these drinks for your kids rather than soda, sweetened milk, or sports drinks, which contain high-calorie sugars.
Despite your child’s protests, rest assured that you are doing your child’s health a favor by substituting a sweetened drink with a healthier one.

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