Drinks and foods that keep your family hydrated

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by Rachel Harris, managedmoms.com

azfamily.com

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 14 at 12:46 PM

My mom always tells me that if I get thirsty, it is too late and that I'm already starting to get dehydrated!  Her words remind me to remind my own children to drink their water, but getting kids to drink the recommended six glasses a day isn't always easy. 

An active child may need more water than a child staying indoors playing video games.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children drink six glasses of water on an average day.  During activity, however, your child can lose up to a half-liter of fluid per hour.  The AAP suggests about 5 ounces (or two kid-size gulps) of water or a sports drink every 20 minutes for an 88-pound child.  Kids and teens weighing about 132 pounds should drink 9 ounces.  If possible, take all hydration breaks in a shady spot. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking the equivalent of a standard bottle of water (16.9 oz.) about 2 hours before vigorous exercise.

It is important to know the signs of dehydration, too.  Symptoms include:

*Early signs of dehydration in children are fatigue and irritability.  The child may be less energetic and crabby.

*Sunken eyes

*Dry mucous membranes

*Decrease in urination

*Headaches

*Nausea

*Clammy skin

To avoid dehydration, make sure that your kids are getting enough fluids and serve foods and snacks that help to hydrate.  Here a few beverages and a few fun food ideas to give your family to keep everyone hydrated.  And a big thanks you to managedmoms.com writer, teacher and mother to an active 5th grader, Lisa Walton, for researching this topic and providing some of the fun recipes. Thanks Lisa!

Best Beverages

I try to only keep water and milk in my house so that my kids won't have sugary liquids tempting them.  However, I do at times buy Gatorade when we are knee-deep in hockey season and my son has lost electrolytes that need to be replaced.  I once had pediatrician call sports drinks sugar water, so we use it sparingly.

To help increase their water intake, I recently tried a line called Metromint which is bottled water that has only two ingredients:  purified water and mint.  Or you can try the Metromint Orangemint Water that contains purified water, mint and orange essence.  The real pesticide-free mint comes from Washington's Yakima Valley.  The mint is combined with the water to make a refreshing drink that is all natural with no calories, no sweeteners and no preservatives.  I also tried the Metroelectro Micronutrient Water that mixes pure water with antioxidants, electrolytes and zinc to strengthen the immune system. 

So with this line, we can continue to drink our water with a mint twist, which makes it easier to get more glasses of water down a day.  The Metromint line is sold at Fry's, Sprouts Farmers Market, AJ's Fine Foods and other grocery stores. For more about Metromint visit www. metromint.com.

After a big game or performance, I'll give my kids chocolate milk for a treat that is also a good recovery drink.  My family likes the Horizon Organic Chocolate Lowfat Milk that is sold at most grocery stores.

It is best to keep your kids away from soda, not only because of the high sugar content, but the caffeine in many of the carbonated beverages can further contribute to the dehydration process by increasing fluid loss. In addition, as a stimulant, it can depress the symptoms of dehydration. Beverages such as pop or juice-flavored drinks might taste refreshing, but the high sugar content is unhealthy for many reasons and should be avoided for hydration except as a last resort.

When my kids crave a sugary juice, we freeze red grapes and everyone loves this treat.  Plus with the grapes, your family gets the added benefit of fiber plus the antioxidants and frozen grapes taste like a popsicle.

Hydrating Foods & Fun Recipe Ideas

In addition to making sure that your kids are drinking enough water, serve foods with high water content that will help to keep them hydrated.  Here are some foods and recipes to try:

*Fruits & Veggies: Not only are these foods good for our bodies, but they contain 70-95% water.

Go For:  watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, carrots, cucumbers, and romaine lettuce.

*Yogurt:  Contains up to 80% of water either plain or with fruit.

Go For:  Blend some frozen berries with yogurt for a 10-second sorbet.

*Oatmeal, beans & pasta:  These foods absorb more than 50% of their weight in water when they cook.

Go for:  Fun shaped pasta like the bow ties and wagon wheels.

*Popsicles or frozen fruit bars:  When your child is dehydrated, this will help to supplement the water they need since they tire of drinking plain water quickly.  However, go for the 100% fruit bars or low sugar bars to limit sugar intake.  I like to make our own using the Hansen’s natural juice line that contains no artificial ingredients, no artificial sweeteners, no added sugar, and no preservatives.  One serving of Hansen's Pomegranate Blackberry juice only contains 9 grams of sugar, while many other juice varieties contain over 20 grams.

Go for:  Puree watermelon, mix with Hansen's Pomegranate Blackberry juice flavor and freeze.  The Zoku Quick Pop Maker that I showed in the segment is sold at Sur la Table for $49.99.

*Milk:  it provides protein, Vitamin D and calcium. It provides optimal nutrition and can hydrate all without saturated fats.

What foods or drinks do you give your family to keep them hydrated?  Share here in the comments section and remember to check my website at managedmoms.com for more ideas, recipes, beauty tips, pet pics and more.

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