What am I supposed to give my kids to drink?

September 24, 2012 in diabetes, lifestyle, nutrition

Water is the short answer, I know.  But my three teenagers hurl accusations of child abuse when I suggest a “water only” policy at home.

So we drink lots of juice. I don’t buy soda, although the kids do with their own money.  Last week one of my sons started comparing the sugar content in soda with some of the juice in our fridge. Call me stunned.  OK, I’ve been watering down juice (I aim to dilute by half) for years (which the kids also hate) because it’s too sweet.  Still, I had no idea that they were drinking 8 teaspoons of sugar or more in a cup of juice if they got to the bottle before I watered it down.

FYI – sugar on most nutrition labels is measured in grams.  Four grams are roughly equal to one teaspoon.  There are some good visuals here:

Several studies posted online by the New England Journal of Medicine last week compared sugary and non-caloric beverages.  The sugar free or diet stuff is out for me, too many chemicals. And, as I said, water is a tough sell.

So what am I supposed to buy?

A colleague suggests lots of seltzer and persuading my kids to mix a spritzer – that’s worth a try.  Any other suggestions?

11 responses to What am I supposed to give my kids to drink?

  1. My kids love the flavored seltzers with no calories or any chemicals — there’s pomegranate, lime, black cherry etc. The dig the bubbles. It’s worth a try. RZ

  2. I agree with the suggestion to mix with seltzer but I also think you have to consider the source of the sugar. I buy no sugar added apple juice. That has about 22 grams of sugar. But if you look at the amount of sugar in an apple that is about the same amount of sugar. Nobody says we shouldn’t eat apples because of the sugar content. So I don’t think comparing sugar in soda to the sugar in juice (not added) is the same thing.

  3. Make your own sweet tea, it still has sugar but far less than the alternatives. Also, there are tons of pins on pinterest for flavored water – slice grapes, add to water do the same with cucumber, watermelon, lemons, limes, oranges, etc. My child drinks: cider (in season), sweet tea (mostly made by me), some lemonade (Newmans, with tons of ice), water and milk. I drink the same with the occasional coke. If you get the ginger peach rooibos tea (I think I got it at whole foods) and make that iced with a smidge (literally, a tablespoon or so for the whole quart – 2 quarts) it’s awesome. Oh, and a lot of the celestial seasonings teas that are fruity – red zinger, and others that are escaping me – make great juice alternatives just toss a few bags in some water and toss in the fridge.

    A lot of the fruit juices have added sugar – to address Jean’s comment – AND when you eat the apple you’re getting all of the vitamins, minerals and fiber. When you drink apple juice, you’re getting flavor and sugar – because pasteurization manages to kill a lot of stuff. It’s better to eat the apple and drink a glass of water. I buy unpasteurized cider for that reason. And I’m contrary.

    • Wow Alyson – great – I will stock up on the teas.

      Water with slices of cucumber? Not sure about that one, but hey, I’ll give it a try.

      I love the Newman’s lemonade – was so disappointed to see the sugar content – maybe that will be our splurge item!

  4. I also have children, 4 and 8. Following my pediatrician’s recommendation when my first daughter was born, we never gave her any kind of juice, because he said it was bad for her. In addition, my husband’s family has a history of diabetes. But it has always been a struggle to keep her away from the desire for juice/soda to be like all the other kids. Every morning at day care, a cup of juice was placed at her seat when my husband would drop her off. I would constantly have to remind them to only give her water – milk on the other hand was just fine. With my second child, we were a bit more lax.

    Fast forward 8 years later, and the kids don’t want apple juice anymore, they want Gatorade or soda. And for the most part I just say no! I reiterate that it has a lot of sugar and it’s not healthy for us. I know I can’t control what they’ll do outside the house, but at least in the house, as long as we don’t buy it, they won’t drink it.

  5. This is something I’ve been wrestling with, too, recently. We go through a gallon of milk every four days (usually 2%, kiddos are 4 and 6). And I wonder if I should be starting to substitute the milk for other things. We don’t really drink juice – but is there such a think as too much milk? I love the tea suggestions above, and the seltzer. Thanks!

  6. My kids love unsweet tea. I invested a little in an iced tea maker and make it only slightly caffeinated (2 bags of Earl Grey and 6 bags of Lipton Decaf per pitcher.) We mostly drink water but the tea is a nice alternative.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.