It’s important to stay hydrated in the summer months, and kids can easily forget to drink enough. And if your kids drink the wrong kind of drink, it can do more harm than good. Here are some tips on keeping your children healthy and hydrated in the hot summer months.

1. Fluids

Drinking water is very important. However, kids tend to drink water only when very thirsty. For good hydration, you need to drink frequently even when you’re not thirsty. Also, water does not have any minerals or carbohydrates in it. For proper hydration, the body’s electrolytes must be kept in balance. That is why sports drinks contain so much sodium – it’s a mineral you lose when you sweat, and you need some sodium to encourage the body to hold water.

Your child doesn’t need that much salt, though, nor does he or she need the artificial color and corn syrup in these commercial drinks. For good hydration that includes water, minerals, and some carbohydrates, consider these inexpensive, home-made drinks.

Fruit Smoothies

These yummy mixtures provide water and great flavor. You can pop a pinch or two of sea salt into one for electrolyte balance. You can freeze the fruit beforehand or add ice cubes for extra cold and added water. Here are some fruit combinations to try in your blender:

  • Strawberry, watermelon, and peach
  • Banana, peach, and strawberry
  • Cantaloupe, watermelon, and grape
  • Strawberry, kiwi, and pear

Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays to add to the next smoothie, or freeze in popsicle molds.

Slushies and Ices

In your blender, you can make tasty slushies. Simply combine fruit juice or fruit puree with ice cubes and whiz. Or, you can crush ice in your blender, scoop it into a cup, and pour fruit juice or fruit puree over it. You can add some raw honey, agave nectar, or stevia to the blend if your child likes it sweeter. The honey and agave will add some calories and energy, which give your kids a boost.

Use the leftovers as you would for smoothies – freeze into popsicles or cubes.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas come in a variety of flavors that can be sweetened with natural sweeteners. Some children love mint tea, or fruity herbal teas like raspberry, cranberry, or orange. Just brew, chill, and serve, or add a squeeze of lemon for pucker and added minerals. You can also add fruit juices to the teas. Try iced cranberry herbal tea with some orange juice.

Iced herbal teas can be frozen into popsicles or cubes too.

2. Drinks to avoid

Caffeine stimulates the kidneys and acts as a diuretic, so it may actually dehydrate the body. While some sugar or carbohydrate is an asset in hydrating drinks, excessive sugar can deplete the body of important vitamins and fluids. Besides, excessive, refined sugar is quickly absorbed, providing quick energy followed by a slump.

3. Foods

There are ways to stay hydrated besides just drinking fluids. Eating juicy fruits and vegetables, for example, helps children stay hydrated. Here are some foods your kids can eat that will hydrate their bodies.

  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Other melons

Enjoy a hydrated summer with your kids!