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The Best and Worst Drinks for Kids

These healthy drinks for kids will delight even the pickiest eaters. They won't miss the unhealthy drinks at all!

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What drinks are good for children?

We parents have a lot on our minds. On any given day, we’re focused on cooking healthy meals, discovering the right sleep schedule and finding that overdue library book. While a healthy diet is vital for our children, it can be easy to focus on the food and forget about drinks. But if you’ve ever handed over a juice box to a thirsty 2-year-old, you know how quickly it will be gone. So, it’s important to provide healthy sips throughout the day to keep kids hydrated and energized. That’s why we’ve rounded up the healthiest drinks to support your child’s health, along with the unhealthy ones to avoid.

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Healthy Drink: Water

As a parent, I practically follow my children around with water bottles. Helicopter parent? Maybe, but absolutely worth it! Our bodies need water to function, and kids are no different. When we’re becoming dehydrated, the first signs are crankiness and trouble thinking clearly, so keep the water flowing all day long. Canada’s Food Guide even recommends water as your drink of choice with every meal.

Have a child who doesn’t like the taste of water? Try infusing it with fresh fruit for a healthy alternative to juice.

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Healthy Drink: Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a creamy, tasty alternative to dairy milk; it’s also delicious even if you’re not avoiding dairy. Coconuts are rich in healthy fats, perfect for growing bodies. Drinking coconut milk has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels and an improved immune system.

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Healthy Drink: Almond Milk

Almond milk is naturally high in vital nutrients for kids. It contains protein, vitamin E and magnesium. Most varieties are also enhanced with calcium and vitamin D. Plus, its healthy fats can keep kids feel full all morning long. Almond milk’s subtle nutty flavour is perfect on its own or over your child’s morning bowl of cereal.

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Healthy Drink: Decaf Tea

Skip the pretend cups of tea at your child’s play tea party and go for the real thing! Certain herbal teas are safe and healthy for kids; just be sure they don’t contain caffeine. Try some gentle ginger tea when your child has a tummy ache or peppermint tea for a sore throat. Always check with your pediatrician if you have questions.

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Unhealthy Drink: Soda

No surprise here—soda is not the best option for kids. It’s loaded with sugar and unhealthy chemicals, as well as caffeine. Save it as a special treat at a friend’s birthday party rather than a daily habit.

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Unhealthy Drink: Energy Drinks

Next time your child is begging for an energy drink in the grocery store,  feel extra confident saying no. According to Caring For Kids, a health site developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society, energy drinks put children and young teens at a higher risk of side effects. This can result in high blood pressure, an increase in heart rate, and difficulty sleeping. Instead, help your child learn natural strategies to increase their energy.

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Unhealthy Drink: Specialty Coffees (and Coffee in Any Form)

Coffee in any form is unhealthy for kids. They definitely don’t need the caffeine, and even decaf coffee contains some. Plus, caffeine aside, most specialty drinks contain heaps of sugar. Coffee is also dehydrating, causing fatigue and mood swings.

Next, help your kids increase their water intake by eating more of these hydrating foods instead.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home