A healthy diet is essential to ensure optimal growth and development in children. If parents are not vigilant, children can easily develop unhealthy eating habits which can result to health issues like obesity, metabolic problems and other health concerns later in life. While preparing healthy meals is important, it is also crucial that you monitor the amount of sweetened drinks that your kids consume. These include sodas, sweetened fruit juices, and other drinks that are high in sugar.
With the availability of these beverages at school and in our very own homes, kids can easily drink more than what is really needed. Keeping track of a child’s intake is essential because there are already numerous studies that have linked sweetened drinks to weight issues, and other health concerns in children. And since obesity is considered a major health concern in kids, parents should provide proper guidance.
Before you are enticed to purchase drinks that contain electrolytes or Vitamin C, you need to check the label to determine its sugar and caloric content. Bear in mind that children can easily drink a few bottles of these drinks in a day. As a result, they may consume an equivalent of 10 to 15 teaspoons of refined sugar by merely drinking these beverages.
These sweetened drinks are actually loaded with calories, but it can only stay in the body for a short period of time. After taking in food or drinks that are high in sugar, insulin levels will rise but it will also drop rapidly. This explains why hunger is felt at a sooner time. Hence, kids tend to consume more calories than usual in any given day.
And if kids choose to drink these sweetened drinks over milk, they are getting empty calories instead of essential nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus and riboflavin among others. To add to that, sweetened beverages like soda can also cause dental caries and enamel erosion.
For kids not to be tempted to drink these sweetened beverages, it may be best not to buy these items in bulk. Many experts believe that drinking a small amount of sweetened drink per day is not harmful especially in healthy individuals. Try to find the right balance by allowing your kids to drink 100% fruit juice, and by following the recommended dietary guidelines for kids.
It is also crucial to educate kids about the detrimental effects of drinking too much sweetened beverages. Children should learn how to set limits because it is impossible for us to keep an eye on their every move. Thus, they should learn how to make the right choices regarding their health at an early age. This is crucial because it can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits.
To curb your kids’ intake of sweetened beverages, it may be wise to have healthier alternatives available at home. Encourage your kids to choose diet drinks over regular ones, and make sure these come in single serve bottles or packs. To come up with lower calorie drinks, you may add club soda to your child’s favorite juice or beverage. Don’t allow kids to drink any sweetened beverage before a meal so they will still have the appetite to eat.
In keeping kids healthy, it is important to find the right balance. While there is nothing wrong in drinking sweetened beverages at certain times, too much of a good thing may also be unhealthy. If you are concerned about your child’s habits, work closely with your child’s doctor so you can provide your kids with the right nutrients from the best sources.