Water makes up 60 percent of our bodies so it makes sense we need to drink up during the day. Many of the children I see drink juice or sugar sweetened beverages instead of water throughout the day. Which fluids are better?
Many foods are comprised of 20 percent free water — which contributes to our fluid goals (fruits and vegetables are rich in water content). Other beverages: juice, milk, tea, coffee, pop and sugar sweetened beverages, are chiefly water. Yes, these beverages DO count, but consider this: beverages other than water cost and often add extra energy to your daily intake. Did you know 80 percent of children drink sugar sweetened beverages daily? Which supports the fact 1 out of 6 children are obese. Juice is also considered a sugar sweetened beverage. If you offer juice to your child, provide 100 percent and four ounces a day; consider watering it down and choose to eat fruits over drinking juice.
Daily Water Goals (Cups/day)
- Girls and boys: 7
- Girls: 8-9
- Boys: 10
- Girls: 9-10
- Boys: 13-14
Data are from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrients.
- Make water the beverage of choice between meals (serve milk at meals). Freshen water with a lemon or orange wedge. Keep a water jug/cooler available for the kids to serve themselves.
- Denote a water bottle for each child to use during the day and in the car. Wash the bottles regularly!
Bottom line: Reach for water: it is inexpensive, refreshing, calorie free and easy to find.