Soda and other sugary drinks can be a source of large amounts of empty calories. They also supply excessive amounts of sugar to young children who may be consuming them. In addition, they can contain caffeine - something that most students do not need to have in their diet. These drinks have also begun to replace water and milk, which are essential in students being healthy, in students' diets. A 100 percent juice drink is a better choice than drink mixes or soda, because it will still have the benefits of the fruits' vitamins and minerals. Even juice though should not be a main source of liquid or consumed in larger amounts since it, too, has sugar. A regular can of soda can have 40 grams of sugar or more, which equals about 160 calories. With most of the larger sodas equaling at least 2.5 servings, they can contain 400 calories or more. That is the equivalent of two slices of cheese pizza. The calories students are drinking add to their waistlines and are quickly forgotten. These types of drinks should and can be used as a treat, but if they are consumed daily they could be preventing your child from being healthy. Get your child a water bottle to drink from even when they are home and get them to drink milk (if they are able to) during meals. Just like avoiding sometimes foods, soda and high sugar drinks need to be sometimes drinks.
In the past, milk was well promoted as being a source for calcium and a way to help bones stay strong. From speaking to my current students, that message is not being delivered, with many students not knowing, that milk is important, or even what calcium is good for. Help your child learn why they need it and they may be more likely to drink it.
For more information, visit www.letsmove.gov or www.choosemyplate.gov.