What are the best drinks for your kids? It can be confusing for parents to know which drinks are truly healthy thanks to clever marketing. Even so-called healthy beverages often contain a lot of calories, sugar and artificial flavorings. Not to mention, some of the beverages you grew up on may now be considered unhealthy due to new research.
Below is a look at drinks that are often considered healthy for kids, but in reality aren’t as healthy as they appear. But don’t worry – we suggest some alternative drinks your kids can enjoy in place of these unhealthy beverages.
Juicing a piece of fruit removes a lot of its health benefits – such as fiber – and leaves behind a lot of sugar. Just a cup of fruit juice can pack more than 100 calories, which is more than a single piece of fruit but without the extra fiber and nutrients found in the skin and pulp. In other words, a glass of orange juice is not as healthy as eating a whole orange. Another problem with juice is it may cause your child to crave sweets when they are thirsty. Instead of reaching for water to quench their thirst, your child might be programmed to prefer sugary drinks like juice or soda.
Drink This Instead: Mixing 1 part fruit juice with 2 parts water allows your child to still enjoy the taste of juice, but with a fraction of the calories and sugar. Homemade lemonade is also a great alternative to fruit juice since you can control the amount of sugar.
On the surface, diet soda seems like a healthy alternative to its sugar-filled regular soda counterparts. But don’t let the zero calories in diet soda fool you; they are packed with chemicals like artificial sweeteners, some of which may actually be no better for you than normal sugar. Studies have shown that sugar substitutes in diet soda may confuse the body and hinder weight loss. If you want to curtail your child’s sweet tooth, it’s best to limit or avoid diet sodas altogether.
Drink This Instead: Try sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or sliced fresh fruit to mimic the fizziness of diet soda.
If a drink contains vitamins it has to be healthy, right? Not necessarily. Vitamin waters have become very popular in recent years, but the jury is still out on their health claims. One well-known brand, Vitaminwater, contains around 120 calories and 31 grams of sugar per 20-ounce serving. This isn’t a huge improvement from the nutritional value of a 12-ounce Coca-Cola, which contains 39 grams of sugar and 140 calories.
Drink This Instead: Mix fresh sliced fruit into a pitcher of filtered water for a refreshing infused water with naturally-occurring vitamins. If you are concerned about your child getting enough vitamins and minerals, consider a daily multi-vitamin for kids.
As you can see, unhealthy ingredients are often lurking in beverages that are marketed as healthy. Always check nutritional labels for hidden calories, sugar, sodium and chemical ingredients. Teaching your children to enjoy the taste of water on its own can keep them from drinking their calories. The best way to do this is making it easy for your kids to access clean, filtered water. Browse our selection of home water filters and give your family the gift of healthy, good tasting water.