Studies are showing that more and more parents cannot easily tell what drinks are healthy and what are not for their kids. 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, some juices, and most milk is healthy. 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 may be laden with all sorts of unhealthy additives, and juice itself can be too high in sugar for a child’s health if it is consumed undiluted.
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 healthy like water. This is important to get clear about, especially since a recent study showed that children are getting almost half their calories from drinks. This means they are getting all these calories from sugar, usually processed.
There is a simple set of solutions 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 receiving.
Fourth, steer clear of most drinks where you have to read the label with a magnifying glass and 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.
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