If the high sugar content of soft drinks and the sweeteners in diet drinks are leaving you wondering what to give your children to drink this summer holiday, you’re not alone. It may seem like a monumental task to get your children to choose healthier drinks over fizzy drinks, but it’s worth the try. So what are the alternatives?
Water comes out tops as it rehydrates, quenches thirst and contains absolutely no calories whatsoever. Mix in a small amount of their favourite fruit juice so that they still get a bit of the taste they enjoy. Offer this as the first choice whenever they are thirsty.
Rooibos tea, with or without milk, minus the sugar, is also a good option. It’s naturally caffeine free and contains antioxidants. For a summer twist, make your own iced tea: brew some medium-strength Rooibos tea, allow to cool in the fridge, mix in a little lemon juice and add another flavour of your choosing – this can be cold flavoured teas such as berry, mint or ginger teas, a little mixed berry juice or a tiny swirl of honey.
Freshly squeezed fruit juice, in appropriate quantities, is another option. Fruit juices contain fructose, a type of sugar, so dilute the juice with some water to reduce the calorie intake. The added bonus of using freshly squeezed juice is that you can be sure you’re getting all the goodness of the fruit without any extra sugar being added. Try oranges or berries, and you can even add in a tiny amount of carrot or beetroot juice which is sweet but not extremely high in sugar.
Milk is a great option as it’s packed with protein and calcium. Have your children drink it as is or have them help you make a fruit smoothie and add a little milk and water to give it a thinner, runnier consistency.
If they absolutely insist on drinking a soft drink or you know that they will be offered some at friends’ houses, teach them to dilute the drink with water. They still get the flavour and taste they enjoy, but with a lot less calories!
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