Getting your child to drink something nutritious and healthy can be very difficult. Kids usually have a sweet tooth and prefer sugary beverages to satisfy their thirst. Here are nutritious drink choices to give to your child.
When your child tells you they are thirsty, always offer water first. Water does not provide liquid calories, so your child will not feel full and refuse solid food. This can be especially important if you have a picky eater. Further, drinking enough water is linked to healthy body weight, reduced risk of dental cavities, and improved brain function in children. Water should make up most of their fluid intake
2. Naturally flavored water
To make water more interesting without adding extra sugar and calories, try infusing water with fresh fruits and herbs. This will add fun colors and flavors and will help your child get a boost of nutrition from the fresh fruit and herbs used in the water. Winning combinations include pineapple and mint, cucumber and watermelon, strawberries and lemon, orange and lime.
3. Coconut water
Coconut water provides a good amount of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium. It does not contain calories and sugar. It is an excellent choice for helping children rehydrate after sickness or physical activity.
4. Certain smoothies
Smoothies are delicious ways to sneak fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods into your child’s diet, especially helpful for parents dealing with picky eaters. Homemade smoothies blended with unsweetened non-dairy or dairy-based milk are excellent ways to increase your child’s consumption of fruits and vegetables.
5. Unsweetened milk
Plain, unsweetened milk makes the healthiest choice for kids over sweetened milk drinks like chocolate or strawberry milk. Milk contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium — essential nutrients for bone health that are important for growing children. Also, milk is often fortified with vitamin D, another important vitamin for bone health. While many parents tend to give children fat-free milk, milk with a higher fat content may be healthier for younger children, as fat is needed for proper brain development and overall growth. Speak to your pediatrician if you suspect a milk intolerance.
6. Unsweetened plant-based milks
For children who are intolerant to dairy milk, unsweetened plant-based milks are an excellent alternative. This includes coconut, cashew, rice, and soy milk.
7. Certain herbal teas
Even though tea is not usually thought of as a kid-friendly drink, some herbal teas such as lemongrass, mint and chamomile are safe and healthy for children. They are fantastic alternatives to sweetened beverages, as they are caffeine-free and provide a pleasing taste. Herbal teas also offer nutritional benefits and may even provide relief for children who are sick or anxious.