Have you noticed that drinks are getting all the attention lately?  Our love affair with sugar-sweetened beverages is thought to be a big part of America’s obesity problem.

If you live in the Chicago area you may have read Julie Deardorff’s excellent Chicago Tribune post – “Why kids don’t need sports drinks.”  If you live in the New York area you may know that New York State has considered (and abandoned) the idea of taxing sugary sodas and juice drinks, but is now poised to spend a significant sum on an ad campaign – “Are you pouring on the pounds?”

Here’s some great news: According to The Harvard School of Public Health, children and teens drink most of their sugary calories at home!

Great news?  Yes.  It means YOU can influence your children’s habits. You don’t have to worry about day care and schools.  And since lifelong eating – and drinking – habits are established in childhood, by starting your kids off right you’ll be sure that they’ll be set for life.

Read Harvard’s The Nutrition Source: Time to Focus on Healthier Drinks.

More great news: There’s no need to read nutrition labels!

Even though the Harvard folks say we shouldn’t take in more than 10% of our total daily calories from beverages, they don’t recommend we count calories.  Instead, they suggest we think about proportions. It’s not what you drink, it’s how often you drink it!

Just make sure that AT LEAST 50% of your daily fluid intake comes from WATER.

Read Harvard’s The Nutrition Source: Healthy Beverage Guidelines.

Do your kids think water is bad or boring? Here are some things to try:

  • Do a taste test of your kid’s sippy cup; many transfer a nasty plastic (or detergent) taste to water.
  • Infuse water with flavor by adding some lemon and/or mint, or even a splash of juice.  Don’t assume these flavors are too sophisticated for your toddler. In fact, introducing these flavors know will help you introduce new foods later.
  • Consider giving your children seltzer – a lot of them love the bubbles.
  • Add a drop of food coloring. It might gross you out but it will crack your kids up.
  • Decrease how sweet other drinks are so the comparison with water isn’t so shocking. Read Ways to Wean Your Juice Fiend.

Do you have trouble getting your children to drink water or do they lap it up?

What is the wackiest thing you’ve tried to get your kids to drink water?