School is out and summer is in, and so are healthy drinks for your kids. Kids will be kids and tire out after running around all day. Most likely they will want to grab a soda or high sugar content beverage, but you’re concerned about their sugar intake and lack of nutritional value. Here’s a few healthier options to keep them active throughout the day.
Always the best way for your kid to be rehydrated, good ol’ H2O. There’s no risk of an increased amount of sugar, sodium, or calories, water will help your kids stay hydrated, regardless of how active. Some kids don’t like plain water, so you can try and spice it up with an orange or lemon slice, frozen fruit, fun straws, or funny shaped ice cubes.
Milk is an excellent source of vitamin D and calcium. Chilled, it’s a great drink on a hot summer’s day. Some kids might still not like plain cow milk, but there are other types. Soy, almond, and rice milks are all good, healthy substitutes that are good for growing children. Flavored milk is also an option for your kids. Blend up some strawberries, adding antioxidants, and give your kids an extra boost and a refreshing, fun drink.
Coconut water, whether from a box or straight from the coconut, is low in sugar and high in potassium. It also has a lot of electrolytes which reenergizes your kids, which sport and energy drinks advertise their products are full of, however coconut water has a significant amount less sugar and without the stimulant that energy drinks offer. Kids are already hyper enough coconut water will help them stay hydrated without an added boost of bouncing off the walls.
Lemonade tends to get a bad rep for the amount of sugar that is in it, but from store brands and homemade. At least with homemade lemonade, you can choose what kind of sweetener you’d like to use (agave or maple syrup instead of plain sugar for example), and how much you want to use. And if you use fresh lemons, there is a much higher percentage of real juice than concentrate or artificial flavoring.
Smoothies are a great summer drink because it is such a refreshing revitalizing drink to have, but it is also a drink to have at any time of the day, whether it is a quick breakfast, or an evening snack. If you’re making your own, it’s even better because you know exactly what is going into it. Berry smoothies are great for kids because it’s jam-packed with vitamins so it can help fulfill their daily needs. You can be sneaky too, parents: add some vegetables, the sweet fruit will mask it. The naturally sweet fruit, the better.
Another any-time-of-the-day drink is yogurt. It is rich in protein and calcium and boosts your kid’s immunity system. It can be added into smoothies, eaten with fruit, or by itself. It’s a good snack to have under the warm sun, as it can cool down your body.
Much like smoothies, slushies are great for the summer. The iced drink will definitely quench your thirst as you’re running around all day. Just blend some ice cubes or chunks with watered down juice, and you’re ready to go! Homemade slushies also allows you to choose how much juice (and therefore sugar) your kid is eating.
Juice is a common drink for kids, but is often told as a no-no for parents to give their kids. The importance of juice is two things: 1) only use 100% juice, and 2) water it down. 100% juice usually means that there is less sugar for the kids to be consuming and less calories. Often times, children become obese from drinking too much juice because of its high sugar and calorie content. However, 100% juice still offers kids tons of vitamins that they do need in their daily diet. Secondly, juice is often highly concentrated, so especially for younger kids, it s better to water it down to decrease how much juice they are actually drinking. If kids don’t like the taste of water, some parents have found that by adding a little bit of juice, their kid thinks they’re just drinking juice, not mainly water.
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Favorite summer drink: freshly squeezed orange juice. Straight from the oranges, there is no added sugar, it’s extremely refreshing and quench-worthy, and is a great source of vitamin C. If it’s still too sweet you think, just water it down for your kids.
Tomato juice is an uncommon but healthy way for you to serve your kids a portion of their daily vitamins. Just like any juice, water it down for your kids, but it is a great way for them to restore their energy on a hot day.
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