Keeping your children hydrated is very important, especially if they are very active.
Dehydration can be serious, especially for growing bodies, so it is important that you keep an eye on how much fluid your children consume during the day. As well as making sure that they are drinking regularly enough, you must also make sure that they are drinking the right things.
Certain drinks, such as fizzy drinks, should only be given to children as special treats, because these drinks can be very bad for children to consume regularly.
The Dangers of Fizzy Drinks
Fizzy drinks can actually cause serious health consequences for children if they are consumed in high volumes. They tend to be high in sugar, high in calories, and hold little-to-no nutritional benefits.
Many leading soft drinks also have a caffeine content which can alter the behaviour of young children. The high sugar content will lead to advanced tooth decay over time and can cause hyperactivity in many children. Excessive sugar consumption can also increase the risk of the child developing diabetes.
Consuming too many calories over the course of a day can also lead to childhood obesity. Obesity during childhood may cause lasting detrimental health effects. The calorie count in fizzy drinks can mean that calorie limits are reached after a few glasses.
Are Fruit Juices Good for Children?
Fruit juices are marginally better for children than traditional soda drinks are; however they are not the healthiest choice of drink for children.
Fresh fruit juices and fruit juices which are made from concentrate often have a high sugar content. When fruit is pulped, blended or juiced, it releases all of its natural sugar into a form which can increase the risk of tooth decay. When juice is swilled around the mouth, it coats the teeth with sugar which gradually eats away at the enamel on the teeth. On the other hand, fresh fruit juice is normally rich in essential vitamins and minerals. A 150ml glass of fresh fruit juice will count towards one of their 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. However, only one portion per day can come from juice because of the health risks that are associated with drinking it.
Consumers must also take care to look at the label of the product that they are buying, if they are intending to get fruit juice to drink for the health benefits. Some products which are labelled as “juice drink” actually contain only 10% fruit juice or less, and they are therefore not considered to count as one of the 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. I
f you do want to give your children fruit juice to drink, you should limit their consumption to one glass of juice a day after a meal. Drinking fruit juice with a meal can help to lessen the impact of the sugar within the drink.
Plain water is one of the healthiest choices that you can give to your children to drink.
Water is great for rehydrating children, especially if they are playing sports or doing any other physically demanding activity. Cold water tastes great when you are thirsty, because it is so much more refreshing than a drink that contains a high sugar content. You should try to encourage your children to drink water when they are feeling thirsty and throughout the course of the day.
Many schools in the UK let children keep a bottle of water on their desk with them during school hours, because adequate hydration is known to help to boost concentration and improve learning.
Cow’s milk is a perfect choice for your child, if they are able to drink it. Many children prefer the taste and creamy texture of milk to the flavour and texture of plain water. It is easy for them to drink milk whilst they are at home, although fresh milk should not be taken out and about because it needs to be kept refrigerated.
Young children should have whole milk, rather than skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. Whole milk is best for children between the ages of one and two because it contains vital nutrients which help children to grow. Lower fat options should not be considered for younger children, as they are not as beneficial for children of a young age. Skimmed milk options are not suitable for children under the age of 5.
Milk does not decay the teeth in the same way that fruit juice and fizzy drinks do. The calcium content of the drink is great for healthy teeth and bones. An adequate calcium intake is essential for growing children.
You don’t need to stick to one drink all of the time. Choosing a mixture of water, fruit juice and milk is likely to give your child a really healthy start to life.