As we know, 2/3 of the human body consist of water, and therefore we continuously need to keep it hydrated. This is particularly true for children because their fluid proportion is even higher. They also move a lot more than adults and consequently have a proportionally more important hydration need than adults.
What should children drink?
The ideal drink for the growing child should be low in calories and little or not sweetened at all. Artificial fortification, such as vitamin drops, are also generally not needed, as long as an otherwise balanced diet can be guaranteed. Different kinds of drink are recommended in varying amounts:
Water- the best:
Tab water generally has extremely high quality standards.
Mineral water is also recommended due to it’s natural content of important minerals such as magnesium and calcium, as well as being a good source of fluoride. If your child already has signs of tooth decay, you should opt for the still varieties, as sparkling water can amplify the damage. In any case, water cannot be beat as the number 1 hydrator.
Juices – some:
Juices are very popular with children, but should certainly not be the norm. In small amounts and ideally diluted with water, fruit and vegetable juices are certainly recommendable. Don’t serve them too often though, keeping in mind that they can have a potentially damaging effect on your child’s teeth – even when they haven’t broken through yet! Juices are also very filling and should therefore not be served before mealtime, to allow space for other important nutrients.
Fruit and herbal teas are also very well suited for children, no matter if hot or cold. Popular kinds include camomile, fennel, rose hip and balm. Just ensure that these do not contain caffeine!
Milk is obviously very important, although it and its derivatives should not be considered as principal hydrators. Milk should be seen as a complement or even as an in-between snack, filling and with essential nutrients.
Beverages with exception status:
Calorie bombs such as colas and processed ice teas are generally not recommended for children. They contain excessive amounts of sugar and citric acid that attacks the teeth and lead to overweight. All other beverages that contain larger amounts of sugar, honey, syrups, artificial sweeteners and even concentrates should be handled with caution. As with everything, there are no rules without exception – overly strict prohibitions are never effective. As the occasional treat, hot chocolate or lemonade are perfectly OK.