Recent endorsement from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association has led to a call for changes in taxes and marketing to deter children from consuming sugary drinks. Increased cost for these items is a great starting point, as is a shift in marketing to help prevent these drinks from being marketed primarily to children, but it can’t entirely eliminate the need for parents to make changes to help their kids avoid these unhealthy beverages. Sugary drinks can cause obesity, dental problems, and may hinder the ability to control blood sugar, especially in young children, whose diet needs to be made up primarily of healthy fruits and vegetables. With the right approach, however, parents can help keep their kids healthier.
Drinking water seems obvious. Unfortunately, many kids don’t like the taste of water and prefer sugary juices, sodas, and sports drinks to satiate their thirst. As a parent, you may need to start by making water readily available. Purchase a water bottle for your child and take it with you when you’re out and about. Keep it readily accessible in the house. If you don’t like the taste of your water at home, try a filter or add a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice.
Know When Your Kid Really Needs Sports Drinks
Many parents choose to purchase sports drinks for their children for games and practices, especially on hot summer days. These drinks, however, often have high sugar content with little actual nutritional value. Instead of opting for sugary sports drinks, start with water instead. Most of the time, this is more than adequate for a child’s hydration needs! If your child does need electrolytes, consider bringing them some mid-game snacks, such as bananas or almonds, along with the water.
Explain Your Choices
Kids are smart. While they may like those sugary drinks, they understand when you explain that you aren’t allowing them to have them for health reasons. Let them know the damage that sugary drinks can do to their health–and make sure that you model a good example yourself.
Are you showing your kids how to stay healthy? Do you need more help reducing your child’s sugar consumption? Contact us today.