Kicking the Juice and Soda Habit
Nutritional experts agree that juice and soda are packed with empty calories and say that one of the best ways for children and adults to maintain a healthy weight is to drink more water and less of the sugary stuff. That’s easier said than done, particularly if they’ve developed a daily juice or soda habit.
But like any unhealthy habit, this cycle can be broken with a little time and patience. Here are a few ways parents can integrate more water and less sweetened drinks into their children’s diet:
• Water down sweetened drinks for a short time and then start to replace them with plain water. This can also help reduce the preference for strongly sweetened drinks.
• Don't keep soft drinks or juice at home; have them occasionally, not every day.
• Keep reusable water bottles handy in the refrigerator — the more colorful the better. Be sure to keep them at a height where kids can reach them any time.
• Dress up plain tap water by adding slices of lemon, orange or mint.
• Make water a special treat by offering crushed ice in a cup and having your child eat it with a spoon, or make Popsicles using regular or flavored water, such as Propel.
• Have your child pick out a new water cup for “healthy drinks.”
• Use colorful straws to make drinking water more fun.
• When playing sports, encourage kids to drink water rather than sports or energy drinks.
Finally, parents should set an example by drinking water in front of their kids. By having more water and less sweetened drinks, parents gain the same benefits as children, including improved overall health.
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