When I ask parents about their kids drinks it’s always an interesting conversation. A lot of the time it goes along the lines of this…
Me – “do you give your kids soft drink?”
Parent – “absolutely not, that stuff is full of sugar. They might have it at a party but not at home”
Me – “do you give your kids cordial?”
Parent – “no way, cordial rots kids teeth”
Me – “do you give your kids juice?”
Parent – “yes, they probably have 1 or 2 glasses a day”
It’s about this time that I tell parents about the sugar in kids drinks. Did you know that there is exactly the same amount of sugar in apple juice as there is in coke? Not many parents do! And that is a no added sugar variety. And I’m not blaming you, marketing managers are clever and they definitely pull the juice is healthy card when they can get away with it.
When you give your child a glass of juice (and I mean 250 mls which is a measuring cup) it is the same as 5 teaspoons of table sugar. Okay so imagine getting out your sugar bowl and spooning your child a teaspoon of sugar. Then spoon them another. Then another. Another. And another. By this time my Miss almost 4 would be in heaven, but fast forward about an hour and she would have crashed and would be entering tanty zone.
After a quick internet swoop, here’s the sugar content of some common drinks for 1 cup:
Coke/softdrink – 26.5g
Apple juice (no added sugar) – 26g
Orange juice – 13.8g
Orange drink (25% juice) – 27.5g
Nesquik – 27g
Milo – 24g
Cordial – 16g
Plain milk – 15g (from lactose which is natural sugar)
Water – 0!!!!
You can see how over the day, if you are giving these drinks, that sugar intake can bank up! Unfortunately one of the biggest causes of childhood obesity is sugary drinks. Don’t get me wrong, a little bit of these things is okay. Every now and then give your kids juice if you want, or treat them to a milo if you feel the need one day, but for everyday use, water is the best choice. Water is the only everyday drink.
Tips for getting your child to drink more water:
-serve it cold. Some kids will drink it more if it is cold!
-keep a jug that your older child can pour from themselves. If there is the novelty of doing it themselves, then they might be more likely to do it.
-give them a cool looking water bottle.
-infuse the water with fruit (strawberries or lemon are often good) or even cucumber.
-use a chart for older kids. Let them tick off when they finish a glass of water.
-model the behaviour and talk about it. Something along the lines of “wow mummy is thirsty. Where’s my water bottle I need a DRINK”. Feel free to exaggerate.
The Dietitian Mummy