The following advice on drinks can provide healthy hydration for your child.
* Mostly water
The human body is 50-60% water. Hydration aims to maintain this proportion of water in the body. Water is lost from the body mostly through sweat and urine.
The best replacement for water loss is…water. It contains no added calories, which avoids weight gain problems. Nor is it acidic, so it doesn’t damage growing teeth. Thirst is a good guide on when and how much water your child needs. Ensure your child has easy access to water, such as a filled water bottle.
* Some milk
Milk (and other dairy foods, such as yoghurt and cheese) contains nutrients; particularly calcium, which is needed for growing bones. Milk is 90% water, so it’s also a good fluid replacement for hydration. But because full-fat milk contains excessive calories, it’s better to give reduced-fat milk to children aged 2 years and older.
* Less often: Fruit juice
Fruit juice has nutrients like vitamin C, but also high sugar levels and acid, and not much fibre. It’s healthier for children to eat fresh fruit, and have fruit juice as an occasional treat.
* Avoid: Soft drinks, flavoured mineral water, sports drinks, cordial
These drinks are unhealthy. They not only have excess sugar and acidity, but virtually no nutrients. To win the ‘water versus soft drink battle’, put ice or real fruit in your child’s water. And set a good example by drinking mostly water yourself.
More information: www.raisingchildren.net.au