Raise your hand if your wee one would drink a gallon of juice a day if you let them?? Hand raised over here. My little guy definitely has a sweet tooth!
Let’s be honest…sugar tastes good. It’s kind of like bacon…everything is better with bacon or in this case, sugar. 🙂 Americans consume an astounding amount of sugar & often times it is hidden by sneaky nutrition labels.
Unfortunately, our bodies are not meant to consume the 22 added teaspoons of sugar a day the average American consumes in a day. Yikes, my teeth hurt just thinking about that!
To give you a little perspective on just how much sugar Americans are devouring, check out these numbers from Yale Health:
The American Heart Association recommends the following for sugar intake:
Children = Limit to 3-4 teaspoons per day
Adult women/teens= Limit to 5 teaspoons per day
Adult men/teens= Limit to 8-9 teaspoons per day
How much sugar is in soda?
12 ounce can = 10 teaspoons of sugar
20 ounce bottle = 16 1/4 teaspoons of sugar
2 liter bottle = 27 teaspoons of sugar
Well, looky here…if you quench your thirst with a 12 ounce can of soda you’ve already exceeded your max sugar intake x2 for a woman or by one teaspoon for a man. I’m not even going to go there with how much excess sugar a kid has consumed with one can of soda.
Juices aren’t any better with orange juice packing 7 1/2 teaspoons for a 12 ounce glass and apple juice is right there with the OJ. Yes, I know it is a different kind of sugar then refined white sugar but most kids aren’t consuming only 12 ounces of juice a day. Excessive amounts of sugar in any form is not good for anyone…period.
Check out this nifty sugar chart from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute. If you’re going to opt for juice as a thirst quencher for your kiddos, mix half water and half juice to cut down on their sugar intake.
No need to freak out and toss every single sugary drink you have. Moderation is key to living a healthy lifestyle. If you’re out at a party surrounded by those tempting tasty beverages or your little one wants to enjoy a juice on their last day of school, go for it. Just remember to keep the frequency to once in a blue moon, not every time the sun comes up. 😉
With soda and juices nixed from your family’s daily intake, what’s left besides good ol’ H2O? There are lots of options if you get creative, but to help you get started here are five of my favorite alternatives to sugary drinks for my toddler.
- Watermelon and Mint Infused Water – Throw a couple cubes or balls of watermelon and a few mint leaves into a sippy cup. Fill with cold H2O and let stand for a few hours (if you have time) or pop an ice cube in there and GO!
- Peach and Blueberry Infused Water – Toss a slice or two of frozen peaches into a sippy cup along with five or so blueberries and fill with water. Let stand for a few hours (if you have time) or just go since the peaches are frozen.
- Cucumber and Watermelon Infused Water – I made a huge pitcher of this H2O blend for our 4th of July BBQ and it was a hit. My son & his friends guzzled it up so fast I could barely keep the pitcher full! Drop a few slices of an English cucumber and a couple of cubes of watermelon into a sippy cup filled with water. Add a cube of ice if you’re heading out the door.
- Single Fruit Infused Water – It’s as simple as that…pick your kiddos favorite fruit, slice it up and toss it in their cup of water. Let stand for a few hours (if you have time) or pop an ice cube in there and GO!
- Here are 8 Fruits Low on the Glycemic Index.
- Chow Down on Some Hydration – There may be days your wee one isn’t up for drinking much, but with the hot summer weather it’s important to keep them hydrated. Try sliced cucumbers with hummus. (my son prefers English Cucumbers) They are 90% water which = hydration! Strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, radishes, baby carrots and cantaloupe are several other hydrating produce powerhouses.
- Check out these 15 foods that help you stay hydrated.
Water Infusing Tip: Use a glass pitcher to make a larger batch of fruit infused water the whole family can enjoy! Just remember the more fruit you add the sweeter the taste and the more sugar you’ll consume. 🙂 Also, get the kids involved! Let them decide and make their own infused combo.
I hope these no added sugar drinks are a new favorite in your house. My family sure is enjoying them during these hot, hot summer days. When you find a favorite fruit combo I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to share in the comments or email me…email@example.com.
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