Being thirsty is a good thing, kind of.
It is your body’s way of telling you that you've already become dehydrated. It's good that you know, but you now have to catch-up with your fluid needs.When our kids are thirsty what do we give them? Water of course! Some milk is fine, but shouldn't replace water. Milk fills kids up, which may cause them to eat less and miss out on important nutrients. Iron, for example, isn't found in milk.
Juice? A juice box is an appropriate serving size for an active child who needs energy and hydration. I'll pack a juice box in my kids’ sport bags if they are heading to a tournament or have a practice lasting longer than a couple hours. But around the house, juice isn’t an option.
A sports drink? Same recommendation as juice above.
Anything else? Pop and other sugary beverages of course have no nutritional benefit; the amount of sugar and/or chemicals can be harmful to your child’s health.
Energy drinks? Never.
You may wonder what to do if your kids don’t like water. It happens! I hear it fairly often from adults too. You can add lemon to water or make fruit infused water. Watered down juice is okay, as long as it isn’t too much juice. Herbal teas are fine, but not usually a kid favourite.
To help your kids stay hydrated, teach them why they need water. More than 50% of our body is made up of water. Water helps their body produce energy and it helps the body get rid of waste. Our blood is 50% water, essential for carrying nutrients and oxygen to all the cells in our body.
A fun ‘game’ for kids is ask them to have a look at their urine (preferably in the privacy of a bathroom) and see what colour it is. If it is yellow to dark yellow their body needs water. Clear to pale yellow is a sign that they are adequately hydrated.
Remind kids to drink extra water when they exercise: before, during and after. This is especially important - compared to adults, children are less able to regulate their body temperature making them more susceptible to headaches, dizziness, nausea and heatstroke.
We’d like to expand this blog to answer any of your Health & Wellness questions - whether they be about nutrition, sleep, stress, or creating a balanced fitness program. Please send me any questions you’d like to see answered and I, or another ORC health expert, may be able to respond to you in a future article.