photo credit: *Jeffrey*
Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Water for children will help keep them lean and healthy! Yes, slowing down on soft drinks and juice will help fight childhood obesity! This is the last installment in how to teach your kids to LIVE HEALTH”Y” and it is a good tie in to my previous post about sugared drinks and obesity. Don’t we all strive to have lean, healthy kids? Do you know one of the easiest ways for this to happen?
Start very young and teach your kids the taste of enjoying water instead of sugared drinks and juice. Substituting water for sugared drinks can help to increase hunger for meals, decrease cavities in their teeth, help to keep children in a normal weight and help to keep their bodies hydrated, especially during hot weather. Even 100% fruit juice may seem like it is healthy, but too much juice can also create the same problems as too much soft drinks. The key, start good habits young (as babies) and be strong and persistent as kids get older.
Babies do not have a nutritional need for fruit juice before 6 months of age. So, you don’t need to give babies any juice before this time. You can start to offer babies water when they are eating solid foods, before that breast milk or formula offers all their water requirements. At 6 months, serve half water, half juice to infants in a cup and not more than a 1/2 or 2/3 cup a day. As your infant grows into a toddler, try to keep diluting the water. Offer water for drinks as your toddler grows into a preschooler…and so on! If kids are having fruit in their diet, they do not need more than 1 cup of 100% fruit juice a day. In France, where I live, kids drink a lot of water with a small amount of “sirop” (flavored syrup) in it. This is a better habit than too much soft drinks or juice.
For soft drinks, or drinks such as Kool-Aid, Sunny Delight, Nectar, try to offer these for special occasions only, or perhaps on the weekends. This is the challenging part..especially if your kids haven’t been used to the taste of water. Offer water, or diluted water and stick with it..be persistant, don’t give in to the demands of your kids that complain they don’t like the taste of it. (I have 4 kids at home…I know how much they like to test my persistance!) Even a balance, like with French kids, of diluting their water with a small amount of flavored syrup is a good compromise. Push new habits, try to balance the scale with water being on the positive side. Now…maybe you are wondering about how do drinks such as milk fit into your children’s diet? Keep checking back..I will post on that subject in a couple of days 🙂 Meanwhile, leave me YOUR comments below.