Summer is here. With the global warming, is it very easy to get dehydrated, specially children. So, drinking regularly is very important. By helping children to make the best drink choices, you’ll be helping them have a better overall diet. You can also help them avoid consuming too many ‘empty’ kilojoules that is, drinks that provide a lot of kilojoules (calories), but few nutrients.
A child’s fluid needs are best met by water and milk. Although fruit juice can provide some valuable nutrients, children should not consume too much of it. Sugary soft drinks, fruit drinks and cordials provide unnecessary kilojoules. They may also replace healthier drinks such as water and milk, and contribute to tooth decay. Here is a list of healthy drinks for your kids and even healthy adults :
- Water : Water is an essential nutrient for life, needed for many processes in the body. The body constantly loses water through the skin and lungs. Active children may become dehydrated more easily than adults, so it is important to replace fluids regularly throughout the school day. Plain water should be the most commonly consumed drink, as it provides fluid without any kilojoules.
- Milk : As milk is 90% water, it helps children to re-hydrate. In addition to water, milk also provides at least 10 essential nutrients. Not only is it the largest contributor of the calcium in the Australian diet, but it also contains most of the nutrients needed for human life. Milk provides: protein, carbohydrate and fat, vitamins (A, B12 and riboflavin) & minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc). For very young children, the fat in milk is an important source of energy, as well as providing vitamins and other important nutrients.
- Fruit Juice : Fruit juice is fine in small amounts as it contains nutrients like vitamin C, folate and some antioxidants. However, most types of fruit juice naturally contain a similar amount of sugar and kilojoules to soft drinks but far fewer essential nutrients than milk.It is better to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables rather than drink fruit juice. Not only do fruit and vegetables provide dietary fibre (which is removed in juice), they also tend to be more filling and less likely to contribute to poor dental health.
- Sweetened Drinks : Soft drinks and other highly sweetened drinks such as cordial and fruit drinks generally provide kilojoules but few nutrients. If children consume large amounts of sweetened drinks or fruit juice they can end up with an unbalanced diet, particularly if these drinks replace milk. They may also be at increased risk of tooth decay and obesity .