Water Does Wonders
OCTOBER 2016 - MARCH 2017
OCTOBER 2016 - MARCH 2017
Water makes up more than half of a child’s body weight! That means water is essential to keep their bodies working and growing properly. Water is also natural and free, making it the best choice for kids to stay hydrated and healthy. With water, there’s no need to worry about sugar, calories, additives, preservatives, or caffeine.
Let’s make water the easy choice for kids – and keep them sipping throughout the day! After all, Water does Wonders!
Dietary preferences are established between the ages of zero and four years old, laying the foundation for eating habits later in life. Research has shown that when children are used to consuming water at a young age, they are more likely to drink water later in life.
Plain, unsweetened milk in another healthy choice for thirsty kids. It contains calcium and vitamin D that they need. For those who cannot drink milk, unsweetened, fortified soy drinks are an option.
100% fruit juice (no sugar added) can be an occasional treat, however, no more than about a 1/2 per day is recommended. While juice contains some nutrients, it also has a lot of calories. Support healthy, whole food options: Encourage children to fill half their plates with vegetables and fruit. Teach kids that eating a piece of fruit or cut up vegetables is a better choice than reaching for juice – they’ll get important nutrients and fibre, and will feel full longer.
There are also some beverage options that are best to avoid all together. Sugar-sweetened beverages are a concern for children’s health. They include soft drinks, fruit drinks (e.g. punches, lemonades), specialty coffee/tea drinks, sports and energy drinks, and sweetened milks. These drinks can replace more nutritious choices and contribute extra calories and sugar to children’s diets.
Excess sugar intake is associated with other negative health outcomes such as an increased number of dental cavities, and among adults, an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults and children get no more than 10% of daily calories from added sugars.
When parents and caregivers make healthy drinks like water the norm at home, kids are more likely to make healthy drink choices throughout the day. Community members and program staff can also be important positive role models by consuming healthy foods and drinks in the presence of kids.
Foster healthy eating routines: Research has shown that regular family meals are associated with positive health outcomes in children and youth. Having more family dinners together is associated with lower consumption of soft drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets, and may have a positive impact on their vegetable intake.