Healthy Summer Drinks for Young Children
This article was contributed by the Department of Health.
In the hot summer, our body usually sweats more to regulate the body temperature in order to prevent heat stroke. Young children may feel thirsty more often especially doing outdoor activities. Remember to provide them with adequate fluid to replenish water loss. Young children should drink at least 4 to 5 glasses (1 glass = 240mL) of fluid every day. What are healthy drinks for young children?
Water is always the best drink
Water is the best choice as it has zero sugar and calories. Offer water regularly every day, such as during and after mealtime and physical activity. Make water easily accessible at home, such as putting water in a cup or water bottle within their reach and always bring water bottle when going out. Encourage young children to drink water by giving positive reinforcement, such as hug and verbal praise, but do not use food as a reward. Most importantly, parents should be a role model and drink water as their main drink.
In addition to water, other healthy drinks include unflavoured low-fat milk and calcium-fortified, low-sugar soymilk. These drinks help rehydrate our body and serve as good sources of calcium and protein that are essential for the growth of young children.
What’s more? You may add lemon slices, lime wedges or fresh mint leaves to iced water or unflavoured sparkling water as healthy and refreshing thirst quenchers. Remember not to add any types of sugar.
Other healthier options are homemade clear soups. You can always prepare soups with seasonal vegetables or gourds and lean meats, such as lean pork, skinless chicken and fish. Please browse the “Soup Recipes for Kids” on the thematic website of the “StartSmart@school.hk” Campaign to get more ideas on healthy soup recipes.
Drinks to avoid
Remember not to provide drinks that are high in sugar, with artificial sweeteners or caffeine to young children. Sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks, cordial, probiotic drinks, and instant malt drinks, are loaded with sugar and thus high in energy. Excessive sugar consumption will increase the risk of tooth decay and obesity. Whereas artificial sweeteners containing drinks, such as diet soft drinks and some sugar-free or low-sugar drinks, will lead young children to develop a sweet tooth. Lastly, drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea and milk tea, are not recommended as young children metabolise caffeine slower than adults, they may experience anxiety, insomnia and palpitations if consumed too much caffeine.
For the health of your young children, choose water as the main drink and only provide healthy drinks and clear soups to them.
For more healthy eating information, please refer to: