Registered dietitian Michelle Dudash is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live
While many parents make the effort to slide more fruits and vegetables into their children’s lunchbox, healthy beverages can often be overlooked. Registered dietitian Michelle Dudash helps sort it out and explain the best and worst choices.
1. Best: drink daily
Still or sparkling water
Most people older than age one should mostly drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Add lime, lemon, or orange slices for added flavor.
White fat free or lowfat milk
The 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend that kids drink a total of three 8-ounce glasses of milk daily. Milk helps fulfill calcium, potassium and vitamin D needs, which the Dietary Guidelines identified as three out of four nutrients Americans aren’t getting enough of, including children.
Flavored fat free or lowfat milk
Processors have been hard at work over the past 5 years to lower the sugar and calories in school flavored milk. Flavored milk is projected to have 38% less added sugar, and just 31 calories more than white milk and the majority have fewer than 150 calories per serving. Flavored milk contains the same nine essential nutrients as plain milk.
Visit WhyMilk.com for more information about the benefits of drinking chocolate milk.
2. Okay: to drink occasionally
For athletic children exercising for one hour or longer, a sports drink is an acceptable beverage for use during a sporting event. Otherwise, sports drinks are unnecessary. After a hard workout, chocolate milk can help athletes recover and refuel – plus, it’s a more nutrient-rich choice.
Read the label closely and look for those with no added sugar, like Izze, which contains only fruit juice and sparkling water.
100% fruit juice like orange and pineapple
While whole fruit is the better choice over juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting 100% fruit juice to 4 ounces per day until age 6 and 8 ounces per day for kids over 7 years old. For youngsters, make a little go a long way by diluting it with water. Orange juice is one of the best juice choices due to its vitamin C and folic acid content.
3. Worst: drink as little as possible
These drinks, plus sports drinks, contribute close to half of the added sugar in American’s diets, with little, if any nutritional value.
Sweetened, flavored waters “for kids”
These types of drinks are nutritional nothings, with all of the calories coming from added sugar and with no beneficial nutrients in return.
Juice cocktails, juice drinks, and juice beverages
These contain mostly added refined sugar and little or no fruit juice.
Soda and energy drinks
All 150 calories in one can of soda come from added sugar and without vitamins, minerals and other nutrients kids need. Many sodas even contain caffeine, making younger children especially susceptible to jitteriness and disrupted sleep times.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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