Recently, the USDA released their new dietary guidelines, which proved that once again, American kids are passionate about fast food, and not much else when it comes to eating. My own kids deep love of all things fried and breaded confirms this finding.
Sadly, the USDA’s conclusion only support the evidence that our children are fast approaching an obesity rate unlike any we’ve seen before. One of the main culprits in the rise of childhood obesity is an unsuspecting one: juice.
Juice appears to be a healthy alternative to soda, but it is just as high in sugar content as the fizzy stuff, which means it is just as bad for our kids.
I stopped buying juice for my kids over a year ago and I can tell a difference in terms of their overall sugar consumption (and thus, hyperactivity, A.K.A “the sugar crazies”).
Cutting out juice is a simple way to put a dent in sugar intake and with a few fun, easy, and healthy alternatives your children might not even notice. Fingers crossed:
1. Water. Yes, water! If your kids aren’t big water drinkers, check out this post with fun ideas on how to encourage them to get their H20.
2. Homemade Soda. We started buying carbonated mineral water and then sweetening it with Stevia flavored drops. You can buy them on Amazon or at your local Sprout’s or Whole Foods.
3. Tea. Now, my kids weren’t too excited about iced tea at first, but we bought a few different blends from Teavana and sweetened them with Stevia. They can pass for juice. My kids even request the stuff– score.
4. Healthy Hot Chocolate. I love to make almond milk hot chocolate, with cacao (a magnesium rich cocoa alternative), Stevia, and a dash of cinnamon.
5. Juice from Your Juicer. Now, if you take the time to juice some fruits and veggies with a juicer, that’s a drink full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. My kids like apple, spinach, and orange! Even my notoriously picker eater likes them!
6. Milk. While some people prefer not to give their kids milk, if you like the cow variety, try to stick with whole organic milk. Milk alternatives are a plenty too: rice, almond, coconut, hemp and they are all relatively low in sugar.
7. Smoothies. Yes, they take more work and a bit more time, but they are a great choice when you’ve got a few extra minutes. I also love to freeze leftover smoothies.
8. Coconut Water. While still high in sugar at least it’s natural sugar. Coconut water is also chock full of necessary minerals like magnesium and potassium and serves as a great alternative to those high-fructose sports drinks. After a game, let your kids re-hydrate with this delicious drink.
What are some of your favorite healthy, juice-alternative kid drinks?
See all of Nicole’s GO MOM posts. Visit http://gokids.bannerchildrens.com/go-mom-blog/.