DECREASING YOUR KID’S INTAKE OF SUGARY DRINKS
It’s hot out, and kids are looking for tasty options to quench their thirst! Unfortunately, sugar-sweetened drinks like pop and energy drinks are easy to find and inexpensive. The average 9-18 year old Canadian child drinks 2.5 cups of sugar-sweetened beverage per day!
Why is this a concern? The World Health Organization recommends less than 10% of our sugar intake should come from added sugar. This is about 12 tsp of sugar in a 2000 calorie diet. Yet a 500ml bottle of pop contains 17 tsp! These sugar-sweetened drinks cause cavities, but are also linked to chronic conditions like diabetes, cancers and obesity. Which can also affect kids.
TO HELP DECREASE KIDS INTAKE OF SUGARY DRINKS, THERE ARE A FEW STEPS THAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN TAKE TO HELP:
The Canadian Federal Government is currently moving to restrict the marketing of food and beverages towards children. Which is good, because today kids see over 25 million food and drink ads per year. And 90% of those are for unhealthy foods
Provinces can add a levy or tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. This initiative is gaining momentum around the world, including in Mexico and some US states. Increasing the price of these beverages decreases sales. And not only that, but the extra tax money raised can help promotions aimed at keeping kids healthy!
AT HOME, PARENTS CAN ALSO HAVE LOWER SUGAR OPTIONS AVAILABLE. HERE ARE SOME IDEAS:
Let your child pick out a favourite water bottle at the store. One that’s easy to drink from. And take it everywhere you go!
Keep cold water in the fridge. You can also keep ice cubes in the freezer- add a berry to each cube to make it more fun!
Add fruit, veggies and herbs to your water, to infuse some flavour.
Make your own lower-sugar drinks at home. Adding your own chocolate syrup to white milk can add a bit of flavour, but be made with much less sugar than store-bought flavoured milks. Same with iced tea.
If you or your kids enjoy soda water, you can easily find no-sugar or sweetener added flavoured soda water.
Coconut water does contain some natural sugar. But is far less sweet than sugar-sweetened beverages or regular juice (which is similar in sugar to pop).
Remember that food contains fluid to help hydrate your kids in the summer too! We love frozen grapes and watermelon in our home! Or try making your own popsicles with smoothies. And remember to be a good role model, and choose lower-sugar drinks too.
Other posts by Jennifer that you might be interested in:
How I get my child to eat his school lunch
How to deal with a picky eater
Tip five on-the-go snacks for kids
Is food before one just for fun?
Create realistic school lunches in five minutes