Healthy Drinks – A Parent’s Dilemma

If you’re a parent, you know it’s becoming more and more difficult to tell which drinks are healthy and which are not. This is understandable given the marketing strategy to sell that edges out giving clear messages about the products in consideration.

For starters, most parents understand that water and “most” milk is healthy; maybe even certain fruit juices. And most parents know that soda is not healthy, diet or regular. But what about the ever growing aisle of sports, energy and health drinks? Even fruit juices are often laden with all sorts of unhealthy additives, and juice itself can be very high in sugar – and even have added sugar! 

In addition to the words ‘sport’ and ‘energy’ posing as a synonym for healthy, the large array of ‘flavored’ and ‘naturally flavored’ water can be just as deceiving. Putting the word water in the title does not mean it is the same as water. Take for example Capri Sun’s Roarin’ Flavored Waters – check out the ingredient list: FILTERED WATER, SUGAR, CITRIC ACID, STEVIA LEAF EXTRACT, NATURAL FLAVOR. These “waters” actually contain 8 grams of added sugars! This is important to get clear about, especially since a recent study showed that children are getting almost half their calories from drinks beverages! This means they are getting all these calories from sugar, usually processed.

There’s a simple set of suggestions a parent can follow:

First, ignore marketing language in the title or on the bottle as a caption. Get out your reading glasses and read the facts and ingredients.

Second, note how much sugar and remember that for every 4 grams your child is getting one teaspoon.

Third, find out how many servings are in the small drink box or bottle. Most will be more than one serving so the sugar content doesn’t look so bad, multiply the grams by the number of servings and you will have an accurate measure of what your child is consuming.

Fourth, steer clear of most drinks where you have to read the label with a magnifying glass.

Fifth, teach your kids to drink water from a young age. It’s easier than you think if you start them early. Always have water accessible and lead by example. Water is also the best thing for their dental health. 

Sixth, make your own flavored water with the help of the little ones you love. They can cut up their favorite fruit as you pull out a pitcher and there you will have a special drink that both satisfies and nourishes.

In Good Health,

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