Eating healthy is one step in the right direction, but what you’re drinking is equally important. Not only for you but your kids as well.
Put down the juice box and read our top ten healthy drinks for your child!
What are Healthy Drinks for Kids?
Healthy drinks are ones that aren’t empty calories.
Have you ever heard the phrase “you shouldn’t drink your calories”?
That pretty much sums up the theme here.
Some calories are okay and healthy even, but it’s the quality of the calories and sugars that are key factors.
How to Choose Drinks for Your Child
What to look for
- Fewer calories
- Nutritionally valuable calories
- Little to No Added Sugars
What to avoid
- Added sugar
- Artificial flavors and sweeteners
Top 10 Drinks for Your Child
You knew this one was coming. Always offer water first.
Water is essential to health and vital processes in our bodies.
Water doesn’t provide any calories and is linked to healthier body weights, reduced risk of cavities, and improved brain function.
This sugarless, tasteless liquid prevents dehydration which can negatively impact your child’s health.
#2 Flavored Water
I’m not talking about the artificially flavored stuff.
I’m thinking of the infused route.
Do your kids love watermelon? Cucumber? Oranges? Mint?
Try infusing boring water with your child’s favorites.
My children love watermelon and blueberry together, while I prefer lime and watermelon. T
he sky is the limit to the flavor profiles you come up with.
#3 Coconut Water
Coconut water contains essential nutrients such as vitamin C, Magnesium, and other electrolytes.
If you find yourself or your children reaching for other electrolyte drinks, try out this healthier choice.
While coconut water does contain calories and sugar, it’s still healthier and gosh darn tasty.
Be sure to read the labels though - some brands do contain artificial flavors and added sugars.
Not the ones from your favorite mall kiosk. No, no. Not those.
The ones that you blend up in your kitchen.
Smoothies can be incredibly helpful for sneaking in some greens for those finicky eaters.
Our favorite combos include kale and pineapple, mango apple and carrot, and spinach apple and blueberry.
Your favorite fruits and vegetables blended with some ice and milk are a great healthy beverage.
Want to step up your smoothie game?
Add in avocado, hemp seeds, flaxseed, and even black beans for some protein!
Klean Kanteen has the best kid-friendly options and my personal favorite is the classic sippy.
Plain ole moo milk contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
These are essential nutrients for growing bones.
Your child’s pediatrician will be able to help you decide what fat content is best for your child, but typically, 2% is recommended for children over the age of 2.
Don’t overdo offering milk though.
It can cause a child to eat less at meal and snack times.
#6 Milk Alternatives
Don’t moo milk? Not a problem!
Unsweetened plant-based milk can be consumed on its own or in smoothies.
These kinds of milk include, but are not limited to hemp, coconut. Almond, rice, soy, pea protein, and cashew milk.
Keep an eye out for the added sugars. Some of these are available in highly sweetened forms.
#7 Flavored Milk
I do not care for straight-up milk. I think it’s rather gross.
My kids and I are on the same page there. Adding a little bit of chocolate or strawberry (and I mean just enough to flavor it) is still an option and one we take advantage of.
If you do go this route - definitely make it at home where you can control the amount of added flavorings and sugars.
#8 Herbal Teas
Your children may not particularly like hot herbal tea, but there are plenty of herbal teas that taste pretty good chilled!
Lemongrass, mint, rooibos, and chamomile are great alternatives to sweetened beverages and are caffeine-free.
Be sure to ask your pediatrician if this is an option for your child as not all herbal teas are appropriate for all age groups.
#9 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juices
There is so much added sugar in those bottled juices.
Even the ones that say 100% juice still just concentrates with soooo much additional sugar.
If you don’t have a juicer at home - try to source no-sugar-added juices.
I probably could have tied this with infused water, but honestly, I didn’t even remember this alternative right away!
Seltzer is great for that fizzy drink craving, not only for you but your child as well.
Shoot for the ones that are zero calories, no sugar, and one without artificial color.
I know that sounds like a lot, but they’re pretty easy to find!
Conclusion - Do’s and Don’ts of Child Beverages
You can offer a wide variety of drinks to your children when they’re thirsty.
I hope that these healthy alternatives are easy to incorporate into your routine.
When we stopped offering commercial juice it was an uphill battle, but thankfully now, our kids have learned to love and appreciate all of these alternatives.
The transition can be even easier with a fun drinking vessel.
We adore Klean Kanteen sippy cups, because they are incredibly easy to clean, durable, and comes in our children’s favorite colors and designs.