Figuring out what’s healthy for your kids could be as difficult as making the picky kids eat their food. Although there are a lot of store-bought drink options available for kids, some of them could be unhealthy. This is simply because of the amount of sugar content present in these ready-made drinks. It’s really alright for kids to consume these drinks occasionally, however, regular intake of these drinks could be a health risk. There are plenty of healthy drink options you can serve your children, and here are a few:
The most important drink for any person, regardless of age, is water. It is essential for sustaining life in all forms; the human body needs it for every aspect of its functionality. Children have to pay extra special attention in keeping hydrated because their bodies are constantly developing, and they have a higher metabolic rate.
Water is also calorie free and your child will not feel full come dinner time. This is something you really want to pay attention to if you are dealing with a rather picky eater. How do you know if your child is drinking enough water? One simple way to ensure this is to let them have a water bottle by their side, at all times. Pick an insulated water bottle that your kids would love, in a vibrant color or with a fun print, and they would simply refuse to part with it!
2. Coconut Water
Coconut water is not nearly as calorie free as water, which is the gold standard of healthy liquids worth imbibing. Coconut water is great for your child because it does contain some sugar, so children are less likely to fight you on drinking it. It tastes closest to a sports drink or thin soda.
But unlike a lot of sports drinks and sodas, coconut water has a pretty substantial health profile. Every glass of coconut water contains vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains electrolytes which are very important for any child. Electrolytes help the human body retain water so your very active children can stay hydrated.
3. Herbal Teas
Most people may not even think of serving herbal teas to their children. It’s just not something you typically associate with a child’s drink. But it is not a bad idea to get your children to start drinking herbal teas on a rare few occasions. They definitely are better options when compared to the sugary sodas and other bottled drinks! They have two advantages that make them perfect drinks for most children:
- They come in a wide variety of different flavors, so you should be able to find something to suit your child’s palette.
- They have unique health benefits that will save you time and concern because they will keep your child healthy.
Some popular herbal teas that your children might enjoy are mint, lemongrass, chamomile, and rooibos. Their unique flavors are perfect that you don’t have to add outside sweeteners to make them enjoyable. If they don’t like drinking hot tea, then try serving the tea over ice; it can be surprisingly refreshing and fun to drink.
4. Fruit Smoothies
When it comes to preparing healthy, child friendly drinks, you really can’t go wrong with a good fruit smoothie. There are lots of delicious fruits to choose from; you can make a smoothie using just about any fruit.
Some of the best fruits to use for your kids’ smoothie are:
It is important to make sure that you are not using frozen fruit, although you will be tempted to due to convenience. At least, you don’t want to use store bought frozen food. The freezing process reduces the nutrition profile of the fruit, which just turns it into a sugary treat, instead of a healthy, somewhat sugary treat.
5. Vegetable Fruit Smoothies
If you want to make your child’s smoothie even more healthy, consider making them a smoothie that includes both fruit and veggies. The vegetables will provide your smoothie with a lot of essential vitamins and minerals that they can’t get anywhere else, and the fruits will help make them palatable.
Some great vegetable fruit smoothie combinations are:
- pineapple and kale
- beets and strawberries
- peach and cauliflower
- blueberries and spinach
Just like with a fruit smoothie, you want to make sure you’re not utilizing frozen fruits and vegetables. The fresher they are, the more nutrients will be available for your child. If you want to maximize how healthy your child’s smoothie is, try serving it with the pulp. Chop the vegetables and fruit up into small pieces so that the blender’s blades won’t break on the tougher vegetables.
6. Naturally Flavored Water
It cannot be stressed enough; water is the most important drink for your child to drink. That being said, it can be difficult to get a child to drink water, as it is rather tasteless and therefore boring to drink. That’s where flavored water comes into play. Don’t buy it in the stores, as store bought flavored water tends to come with unwanted additives. Instead, prepare it yourself at home. Just, soak your favorite fruit or vegetable in water for a few hours, and it will absorb the flavor of the fruit. Alternately, you can pick your kids favorite fruits, add them into an insulated water bottle, one that will preserve the freshness and keep the water cool.
7. Watermelon Juice
Fruit juice is one of the drinks that just about every child enjoys, hands down. That’s why there are so many various options lining store shelves around the world. The problem is most fruit juices is made with some combination of sugar or high fructose corny syrup. Your average glass of lemonade has at least six teaspoons worth of sugar; that’s about the same amount that you’re going to find in half a pack of Oreos.
Even homemade lemonade isn’t innocent. Lemons are naturally bitter, so there’s no way you’re going to convince your child to drink a glass without dumping in a whole lot of sugar. But just because there are a lot of bad fruit juice choices out there does not mean that all fruit juice is bad for your kids. Watermelon juice is naturally sweet all on its own, so there’s no need to add any excess sugar for it. Just blend up a fresh watermelon and let your kids have at it.
8. Sugar Cane Juice
Ok, this one might throw some people for a loop. Sugar is something that we as a society have been warned to stay away from or face the dire consequences. But like everything in the world, not all sugar we consume is the same. The sugar that your doctor warns against is actually processed sugar; the sugar we buy at the store in packages. It is white and granular, and just not good for you.
But there are plenty of foods that have naturally occurring sugar that is actually good for you. Apples have a sizable glucose content and apparently eating just one a day will make it so that you don’t have to go to the doctor anymore. Sugar cane has the sweet stuff before all the good vitamins and minerals have been processed out of it. It has very high concentrations of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and manganese inside of it. It’s even good at fighting certain types of cancer, strengthening the liver, and improving bowel movements. And most importantly, it tastes like sugar, so your kids will drink it right up.
Milk can be a little plain, but If your kid can drink milk however, then there’s nothing but benefits. Milk has everything your body needs to build strong bones and much more. It has calcium, protein, potassium, iodine, phosphorous, and B complex vitamins.
10. Lemonade with honey
We’re back to lemonade again – it turns out life often gives us lemons. Like you have already learned from this list, lemonade is not something you normally want to serve to your child. It is typically filled with processed sugar and other additives. But there are some noticeable exceptions. Making lemonade with honey can give your kid that same sweet buzz that they get from lemonade made with sugar.
11. Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa
Yes, you can serve your children hot chocolate and it actually could be a healthy drink. You just have to make sure it isn’t made using milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has lots of helpful antioxidants that will keep your kid healthy by bolstering their immune system and killing harmful free radicals that can cause cancer. It also improves blood flow by lowering blood pressure, raises good HDL cholesterol levels and lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels. It improves brain functionality and helps brains to develop properly.
It is truly the dessert we can all get behind, even extremely health conscious parents. But most importantly, kids can get behind it as well. It is more bitter than the much more beloved milk chocolate – some would even say that it is an acquired taste of sorts. But if you begin serving it to your children at an early age, they will begin to acquire that taste.
No list of healthy drink alternatives will be complete without kombucha. It is a fermented tea that has actually been in production for thousands of years, although it is only recently gaining popularity in health and wellness circles. Being a fermented drink, it is a natural probiotic which means that it will aid your child’s stomach digestion by introducing good bacteria to the digestive system.
It also contains quite a few antioxidants which will bolster your child’s immune system by killing off cancer causing free radicals. It is never too early to start helping your child regulate free radicals; it keeps the cells healthy. Kombucha can also kill off unhealthy bacteria due to is natural antibacterial properties. This last feature is somewhat a bonus when it comes to children who are notorious for not washing their hands properly.
Kefir is another type of fermented drink that your child will probably love. It is made from cow’s or goat’s milk and typically sweetened with honey. It is a more powerful probiotic than yogurt which makes it just fantastic for maintaining good digestive health. And like kombucha, it also has great antibacterial properties and can remove harmful bacteria. It also has a sizable amount of calcium and can improve the health of bones while preventing osteoporosis from forming. The vitamin K2 contained in kefir has also been shown to reduce a person’s risk of developing fractures by up to 81%.
There are lots of healthy drink options to choose from, these are just the beginning. Remember, if you use fruit or vegetable-based drink options, always use the freshest ingredients possible. Also make sure to always emphasize the importance of water in your children’s diet. Investing in an insulated water bottle could be a start. Choose one that your child would love to carry with them, and make sure to fill the bottle with one healthy drink from the list above! But most importantly, make sure whatever your children is drinking is enjoyable, so that they develop it into a habit.