At this time of year, it’s especially important to keep the kids as hydrated as possible. Sunshine always encourages little ones to play outside but when we’re in the middle of a heatwave it’s so very important that along with a good hat and some sun protection, children keep themselves hydrated.
It’s so easy for children to become dehydrated in this weather, and that can lead to even worse problems like heat stroke, so send them out with a bottle of water and make sure they keep properly hydrated when they are indoors, too.
What should you give the children to drink?
Children will always gravitate towards fizzy, sugary drinks and although these are fine in moderation, they aren’t the best or most hydrating choices.
Squashes and fruit juice might seem like a better option for kids, but although they are likely to be a better choice than a sugar laden fizzy drink, they do contain sugar (except for sugar free squashes) which can cause tooth decay and lead to weight gain if they drink too many.
So, what should you give the kids to drink on a scorching day? Well, the best choices, as dull as it sounds, are probably plain old water – and milk if they tolerate dairy. Nut or substitute milks are another option but kids generally don’t find these very palatable on their own!
The kind of sugar in drinks that we should be avoiding is added, or “free” sugars. These include:
- fruit juices and smoothies
- juice drinks
- fizzy drinks
- flavoured milks
Apart from fruit smoothies, these drinks are tasty buy but don’t contain much in the way of nutritional value and they aren’t the best for thirsty kids either.
Don’t even think about giving your children energy drinks either. To start with; they shouldn’t be needing them before they reach their teens at the very earliest. Energy drinks usually contain huge amounts of caffeine which is a powerful stimulant for a small person’s body, and other chemicals and additives that children really don’t need. That’s before the teaspoons of sugar are added to the equation.
If the kids are bored with milk and water, you can make other drinks less sugary and better for keeping cool and hydrated if you:
- Dilute squash well with water
- opt for unsweetened 100% fruit juice or smoothies
Government advice is that we should limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies we drink to one portion a day of 150ml, which also counts as one of your five daily portions of fruit and veg.
Smoothie ideas for kids
For a special treat, you can try making this kid-friendly summer smoothie recipe:
Or why not try to get them eating their greens with a healthy smoothie that contains spinach?
Ingredients – Serves two
- 1 banana, sliced
- 150g green grapes
- 200g tub vanilla yoghurt
- 1/2 apple, cored and chopped
- 50g fresh spinach leaves
Add the banana, grapes, yoghurt, apple and spinach to a blender. Cover and blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into glasses and serve. Easy!
You can find more smoothie recipes your kids will love here: