Healthy lifestyles contribute significantly to the overall wellbeing and fitness of children. As adults, we must teach children about healthy eating, healthy drinking, hygiene, and keeping fit and active. All children need to have set schedules for regulated intake of food and drinks. While most people tend to look at the calories consumed with food (even for kids), they tend to ignore the drinks that children consume daily.
Inculcating a sense of health, hygiene, and well-being from early age benefits children. Obesity, food disorders, allergies, bouts of cold and fever, influenza, and other health concerns can be controlled through healthy food and drink. Encouraging nutritious drinking habits is as essential as food habits. Since children get thirsty after playing, in school, eating, or even sleeping, it is in their best interest to educate them on proper beverage choices while they are young.
Let us look at the benefits of healthy drinking in children.
Water is crucial for health. Water helps in preventing severe dehydration, overheating in hot summer months, and aids in reducing discomfort due to overexposure to the sun. Children should ideally drink 2 litres of water a day to keep themselves hydrated, prevent a buildup of acids in the mouth and stomach, regulate sweat glands, maintain body temperature, and healthy weight. Kids who are physically active require more than 2 litres of water each day since they might get dehydrated faster. Being hydrated is essential for active children.
If your children do not like the plain taste of water, you could add a slice of orange or a spoon of lime juice to spruce the taste. Try whichever method is suitable but ensure that your children drink plenty of water daily. Also try purifying water, notes www.ukh2o.co.uk. This has been proven to remove and impurities from the water.
Milk contains vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, and essential nutrients that aid in the growth of teeth and bones. Milk proteins are one of the best to grow strong muscle groups and fibers in children. Milk contains leucine that aids in boosting muscular strength and growth. Until the age of 1 year, infants should be on breast milk or milk formula for growth (under pediatrist supervision). Avoid giving cow’s milk to infants since they may not be able to digest it properly.
Children between the ages of 1 to 3 years should be given whole milk – full cream milk since they have higher dairy fat requirements to help their bodies and brain develop faster. Children between the ages of 3 to 6 years should be given 1% skim milk or non-fat milk. If your children do not enjoy the taste of plain milk, add a little chocolate syrup or strawberry syrup. Avoid adding more than two teaspoons to avoid excessive sugar.
Milk can also be used to make smoothies and in food. In soups, add milk instead of water for thickness and avoid corn flour.
Juices have widely been known to be the drink of choice for countless children. However, you should serve only 100% fruit juice without preservatives to your kids. In some cases, watering down the juice to reduce the complex sugar content is a better option than 100% fresh juice. Avoid buying juices from the store and instead, prepare them fresh at home. If you can, then habituate your children to eating the fruits instead of drinking the fluid. By consuming them, your children will be able to absorb all the nutrients and fibers present in the fruits.
Do not allow your children to drink more than 150 ml of juice a day. Excessive consumption of juices can lead to the addition of sugars and eventual tooth decay. Excessive fruit juice can also lead to diarrhoea issues that can last over two days.
Avoid fizzy drinks
Consumption of aerated drinks and sugar pops should be curtailed as far as possible. It is not easy to control intake every time but limiting soda to one glass a month should be incentive enough to drink milk, water, and juice. Sodas and aerated soft drinks contain added sugars that might be harmful to your system daily. However, in case of an emergency, giving your child a pop can help revive them from unnecessary drowsiness. If your child is craving too much sugar and soda, many doctors also advise a blood test to rule out possible glucose concerns.
Be aware of which drinks your children are consuming. Always lead by example and make changes to your lifestyle so that children can learn by observation rather than instruction. Encouraging your kids to drink healthy alternatives will help build a stable and robust foundation for their future health.