Water is essential to good health. It helps us to control our body temperature and blood pressure, and gets things moving in our digestive system, keeping us ‘regular’. Proper hydration helps children feel energetic and alert throughout the day. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we all make water our beverage of choice!
To help children stay hydrated,
- Offer water when they wake up in the morning to start the day off right
- Send children to child care or school with a full water bottle each day
- 12-16 oz. (1.5-2 cups) is an appropriately sized bottle for small hands, to be refilled as needed
- Encourage children not to ignore their thirst – they will often need to drink more when it is warm outside or when being physically active
Energy drinks (Monster, Red Bull, etc.) are not recommended for children or adolescents, as they contain caffeine and a lot of added sugars. Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) contain added sodium, sugar, and other electrolytes that can be helpful for adults after extended periods of vigorous exercise, but are not recommended for children or teens. Children and teens that play sports or participate in other physical activities should hydrate with water before and during exercise and can keep their energy up by having a balanced snack beforehand.
To add some flavour to your water while managing the amount of added sugar,
- Add a splash of unsweetened 100% fruit juice
- Add sliced fruit or vegetables (sliced orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, cucumber, berries – or whatever your family’s favourites may be!)
- Add fresh herbs to a pitcher of water (fresh mint, rosemary)
For infants: Water can be introduced as a beverage for healthy term infants as of 6 months of age, along with adequate amounts of breastmilk or infant formula and complementary foods. Water provided to infants must be free from contamination. It should not be carbonated, flavoured, or sweetened.
Bottom Line: Hydrate with water most often! By offering water to children throughout the day and alongside meals and snacks, we are helping them to form another important healthy habit.