Now that the school year has begun, your children are probably eating school lunches from home. If that’s the case, you know packing lunches can be a complex task. We understand the importance of keeping your children hydrated while they’re running around in the sun at the school playground. Here are some of our favorite suggestions for healthy drinks to pack for your son or daughter this coming school year.
You know it’s essential to fill your children’s lunches with healthy food. Yet what you pour into their glasses matters, too. If your kids are swigging lots of the sweet stuff, it’s time to rethink their drinks. So what can you give them instead?
Below are a few healthy drinks to get you started:
Milk gives kids calcium and other nutrients they need. WebMD suggests that kids between the ages of 1 to 9 drink at least 2 cups of milk each day. Older kids should have 3 cups. If your child is not into milk (like mine), I suggest stirring in a bit of chocolate or strawberry flavoring.
Many of these products have the same nutrients as milk, but some do not contain as much vitamin D, so read the nutrition label. Also, some yogurt drinks contain live bacteria cultures, which may aid digestion and protect the body from harmful gut bacteria. Be careful, though. Many flavored varieties contain sugar.
If you make them yourself from natural fruit, lemonade and limeade can be a valuable source of vitamin C, but homemade and store-bought versions manage to include a lot of sugar.
For kids who don’t love plain water and parents who aren’t fans of soda, sparkling water can feel like a good compromise. And, yes, sparkling water is 100% water, and many flavors are sugar-free.
This comes recommended, but with a caveat. If a juice box contains 100% juice, the label should state so. If the package doesn’t say 100% juice, it’s reasonably a “juice drink,” which can include preservatives, sweetening agents, and even oil!
Keep in mind that even 100% juice gets its calories from sugar, so the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 4 – 6 oz a day for kids under 6, and 8 – 12 oz a day for kids over 7 years of age.
Did these tips help you? Was there something I missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts at email@example.com. Also, please be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday. For more school lunch packing help, please be sure to check out How to Pack a Healthy School Lunch.