By now, this should be old news: sodas, fruit drinks, and other sugary beverages add empty calories to our kids' diets and can increase their risk for a number of health problems, from cavities and type 2 diabetes to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which only recently has been found in children. Still, a recent report put out by the National Center for Health Statistics found nearly two-thirds of kids aged 2-19 in the United States consume at least one sugary beverage on any given day—and close to 30% have two or more.
While soda consumption has decreased over the last decade, thanks to a push to educate consumers more about the health risks, consumption of sugary beverages like energy drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened coffees and teas are on the rise. And those habits and taste preferences start early. Here are 3 ways to help your kids cut down on sugary beverages.
1. Get the facts as a family.
It's easy for sugar consumption to be abstract. So help kids realize how much sugar the things they eat actually have and the reality of the health dangers. The website Sugar Stacks shows how many cubes of sugar are in a variety of popular beverages or this CNN slideshow compares sugary beverages to candy and sugar cereals. I also highly recommend the documentaryFed Up that shows firsthand the health dangers to kids and families who regularly consume high sugar diets. We watched it together as a family and it brought about many great discussions and my kids being more interested on their own about finding out how much sugar was in the things they were eating.
2. Make drink alternatives fun and available.
To help kids make better beverage choices, do more than just recommending a glass of water. There are lots of ways to make healthier drink options look fun and taste appealing for kids. Drink in a Box looks similar to a traditional juice box, but the reusable plastic container lets you dilute traditional juice with water or even better, make your own flavored water by adding cup up fruits or veggies. Try frozen raspberries, cut up "cukes," or fresh melon balls. No one likes lukewarm water so get your kids excited about agua with an insulated water bottled designed for kids like this Contigo Insulated Stainless Steel one, an insulated Bubba Hero Sports bottle, or one of the cute designs on the insulated S'well bottles that will keep water ice cold. You can also try out some soda alternative that offer fizz and flavor without all the sugar like the popular LaCroix sparkling waters, calorie-free Honest Fizz, or Hint Water.
Five Tips for the Perfect Pumpkin Patch Visit
It's that time of the year again...pumpkin patch time! While I love a nice Pumpkin Spice Latte as much as the next fall lovin' girl...for me, the season is all about spending time with my family...and hopefully that time is spent outside as much as possible. If you're headed out ...read more
Perfect for Fall Pumpkin Spice Dirt Bomb Recipe
Get your pumpkin spice fix with this tasty dirt bomb recipe. Unlike fried donuts, this recipe is a little lighter and, since no hot oil is involved, a lot less messy. These dirt bombs, or baked donuts, are irresistible cakey muffins that are spiked with nutmeg and ginger, and ...read more
Save Money at a Ski Swap
Are the slopes in your future? If you want to save money on ski gear, consider a ski swap. A swap is a great way to buy and sell used equipment. Most swaps consist of a variety of gear, from brand new to used skis and snowboards to skis; from poles to boots to bindings and ...read more
3. Make it a family affair.
You know the adage: Do what I say, not what I do. Kids are watching us. Watching us sip sweetened iced tea all day long. Ordering that soda every time the family goes out to eat. Watching us pick up that venti S'bux creation piled high with whipped cream and sprinkles and calling it our "coffee". So get the whole family on board with cutting back on sugar.
Make a 7-day pledge to go soda free. Have a family competition on who can have the least amount of sugar in a day. Put a different family member in charge of creating a fruit, herb or veggie flavored water each night for dinner and vote on the best flavor combination. Banana-kiwi, anyone? Make it fun and make it a family affair.
How have you helped your kids - or yourself! - cut back on sugary drinks?
MORE HEALTHY TIPS FROM MOMTRENDS
- 7 Ways to Curb Your Sugar Cravings
- How to Help Your Kids Get Healthy Eating Habits
- Five Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season
Use Pinterest to save your favorite health tips. Be sure to follow our Health & Fitness Board.
Momtrends was not paid for this post. The post contains affiliate links.