Our bodies require calories and nutrients in order to function and grow properly. Just as we prioritize healthy eating in our children’s lives, we need make sure they are drinking healthy too. Check out this list of common drinks from the American Heart Association to help your kiddos properly hydrate their bodies.
Regular soda contains a lot of calories and no nutrients. Diet soda doesn’t contain calories, but doesn’t provide any nutrients either. Soda includes more sugar than our body requires, which contributes to weight gain, tooth decay and cavities. If you do have the occasional soda, it is important to drink enough water and milk to restore the nutrients that your body is not receiving.
Fruit juice and other sugary drinks may contain vitamins and minerals, but they should never take the place of water, as they have much more sugar than our bodies needs to function properly. This can lead to tooth decay and weight gain. Look for drinks that that fewer calories and provide equal nutrients to drinks like fat-free milk.
100% Fruit Juice
Drinking juice isn’t a substitute for eating fruit, but it can be more healthy than some sugary drinks. Although the 100% fruit label means everything in the bottle came from a fruit or vegetable, calories from juice can add up very quickly. A glass of apple juice might be equal to the juice from 7 or 8 apples that wouldn’t naturally be consumed. For example, 4 oz of 100% grape juice has 76 calories.
Fat-Free (Skim Milk)
Milk is full of calcium and protein, which are nutrients that build strong bones, teeth and muscles. Some milk contains a lot of extra fat (like whole milk or 2%) that is unnecessary. Try drinking fat-free or 1%.
Chocolate milk contains the necessary nutrients, but also contains additional sugar and flavorings. This is okay for special occasions or treats, but shouldn’t be consumed regularly.
The best option for our bodies is water. Since our bodies are mostly made up of water, hydrating our bodies means that we are helping our cells, muscles and tissues function properly. Water also helps to digest food, regulate body temperature, maintain weight and hydrate skin.