Best bet for kids’ beverages… and getting them to drink them
The only two beverages your child needs to grow strong and be healthy are milk and water. One general rule of thumb is to serve milk (cow
or calcium-fortified soy, grain or nut-based) at mealtimes and water in between. Both cow and alternative milks have the same amount of calcium
(~300 mg per 8 ounce). However, cow’s milk has the most protein, followed by soy, with grain and nut milks being the lowest in protein. If
your child drinks cow’s milk, stick with low-fat (1%) or non-fat (skim) milk to limit their saturated fat intake. Flavored milk will contain
extra sugar but it may be worth the trade-off to entice your child to drink up all that necessary calcium, Vitamin D and protein. Juice (make
sure it’s 100%) should be limited to 4-6 oz juice per day or better yet, consider skipping it all together. Even the best juice will not contain
the fiber and nutrients that whole fruits/veggies contain; instead offer water in place of juice. If plain water doesn’t appeal to your child,
try adding flavor naturally with fresh citrus slices, halved grapes, or cucumber slices or try naturally sweetened seltzer water. Commercially-flavored
water will often contain sugar or artificial sweeteners to be aware. In general, bottled water is not any better or safer than regular tap water.
Discuss the need for fluoridated water with your child’s doctor/dentist.