Children have an innate preference for sweet things. This becomes very clear when they get to choose which snack and bread toppings they want, but also when it comes to drinks. This can be quite unhealthy, because drinks contain liquid sugars and these are processed really quickly by your kid's body and are released into their blood. Drinks don't contain the fibres, cell membranes or other complex substances that surround the sugar. So it's recommended to teach your child to always drink water.
Babies younger than six months of age get enough fluids from breastmilk or baby formula, so you don't need to give them water. When you start feeding them solids, you can start offering them water of cooled tea.
So kids should never have sweet drinks? Of course they can have sweet drinks, just in moderation. For example, fresh orange juice contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Please be aware that 150 millilitre (a small glass) equals an entire orange. So don't offer them too orange juice, or too often. If given the option, offer your child the entire orange, because then they will also consume all its fibres, and the sugars are contain within its cells (ensuring the sugar is absorbed more slowly).
- Add water to sweet drinks, so they are used to drinks that are not so sweet and they will consume less sugar, too.
- Offer them iced tea to take to school.
- If you choose to give them lemonade, opt for an organic product. They don't contain potassium sorbate (a preservative), which is an absolute no-no!
- Avoid drinks with (artificial) sweeteners, because they fool your body.