If you are the parent of a young child, chances are you are constantly struggling with the question of what to feed your child. One reason for this struggle is the powerful influence of television in molding children's eating behaviors, as I mentioned in a previous blog. In fact, just yesterday, a student in one of my nutrition workshops mentioned that his parents bought a commercial drink instead of sodas because that drink was advertised on TV as being better than soda.
Don't fall for such empty arguments. A sugar-sweetened drink that is made from artificial coloring and artificial flavors, even if it contains a little less calories, does nothing for your child's health and may contribute to unhealthy weight gain the same way soda does.
Your child deserves the chance for a healthy future and you can help to make that happen by offering water and nutritious, succulent fruits or real fruit juice instead of cheap sodas and artificial drinks.
It may take some time to wean your child off of the sugary drinks he has gotten used to, but it can be done. Here are a few helpful suggestions to get your child on the right track:
- Encourage your child to drink a cool glass of water when he is thirsty
- Buy real (100%) fruit juice instead artificially flavored and colored drinks
- Look out for words like punch and juice drink on food labels, as these words suggest that the drink contains little or no real fruit juice
- Limit the amount of fruit juice to about 1 cup per day, since the amount of sugar in these drinks could be as high as other drinks
- Offer your child a serving of succulent fruits like watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and mango as an alternative to fruit juice.
- Don't overlook the value of milk as a nutritious beverage that not only helps to meet your child's fluid needs but can help to meet your child's need for protein, vitamins and minerals as well.
Copyright 2010 Dorene E. Carter, PhD, RD. All rights reserved. Copying or reprinting the information on this page without written permission of the author is strictly prohibited.
The information provided herein is for education and information services only and is not intended as a substitute for proper, personalized medical attention.