Just like how parents choose the food that they let their kids eat, it is also important that they pay attention to what their kids drink. Not all drinks are beneficial to our growing children. Some kids’ drinks may seem harmless, but in reality, they are not. Let’s find out which drinks are considered healthy and which kids’ drinks are causing more harm than good to them.
Off the bat, we can say that water is the best drink for our growing kids. Water is the best and safest choice when your child is asking for a drink or simply when thirsty. Drinking plenty of water every day keeps our little ones hydrated. This is particularly important in our country as the Philippines has a tropical climate. Water also protects our kids’ teeth. If you let your child drink fluoridated water, then the water helps in building stronger tooth enamel. Water is also helpful in rinsing away stuck food debris after meals or snacks. Just remember, water is the way to go!
Plain milk and its variation such as natural soy and natural almond milk are good alternatives for our kids. Milk contains essential nutrients and vitamins that the body and the teeth need such as vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium. These minerals lessen the effect of sugars and acids in your child’s mouth too. Let your child drink milk for healthier bones and stronger teeth. Take note also that there is some flavored milk variety that is being sold in the market, they may contain added sugar so might as well opt for the plain milk.
Fresh Fruit Juices
Fresh fruit juices, although with sugar content already, are considered a safe choice for your child’s growing teeth. Fresh fruit juices are a better choice than other fruit drinks that have processed sugar. Just keep in mind that moderate consumption is the key here. Drinks that are 100% unsweetened fruit juice, while nutritious, contain natural sugar and acid that may be harmful if not taken moderately. Generally, fruit juices still have sugar and acid that may harm your child’s tooth enamel. Offer water first, milk next, and then fresh fruit juices if need be. Perhaps, it is better to let your child eat fresh fruit instead of juice.
Vegetables, in general, are good for your child’s health and teeth. However, we need to be mindful when preparing vegetables mixed with fruits to make juices because of the fruits’ sugar content when combined. Thus, this combination ought to be taken in moderation. If you can, just prepare purely vegetable drinks. Dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach, malunggay, and celery are good for your kids’ teeth and overall health.
Now comes the artificial fruit drinks, flavored waters, vitamin-enriched waters, soda, and sports drinks. All of these drinks have added or processed sugars. Some drinks can even be very deceiving. Drink labels will sometimes show fruits in them. But in truth, they contain lots of sugar and artificial flavors that are harmful to your kids. While they contain carbohydrates that provide energy to your kids, these are still added sugars. Some do not have any nutritional value except for the calories, making them unhealthy choices for your kids to drink. And the sugars and acid contents of these drinks can damage the teeth as sugars and acid cause cavities and tooth decay. Sugary drinks can even lead to other health problems like diabetes and obesity. Encourage your kids to skip these altogether.
Coffee and Tea
While coffee and tea have their respective health benefits, they may not be as beneficial to our kids. Coffee and tea contain caffeine. Caffeine can cause increased blood pressure levels, affect your child’s sleep and cause anxiety.
Encourage your kids to drink healthy and start them young. Water is still the way to go.
Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks, KidsHealth.org https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/power-drinks.html
Healthy Drinks for Children, HealthyFamiliesBC https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/healthy-drinks-children-preschool
Say No To Soda: Healthy Drinks for Kids, Colgate https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/say-no-to-soda-healthy-drinks-for-kids0315