Advice on healthy drinks

Children easily become dehydrated without noticing.

When they’re concentrating, whether on school work or on play at weekends or in the holidays,
many don’t seem to realise that they’re thirsty.


You can help by offering drinks at regular intervals

Dehydration affects the brain cells, causing tiredness, poor concentration and mood changes.
The body needs plenty of liquid too, to keep the bowels working properly and reduce the risk
of a whole string of conditions developing in later life, from kidney stones to stroke.


What are the best drinks to offer at home,
or send along in your child’s lunch box?


Water and milk are the most healthy drinks for kids. Fruit juices and smoothies are OK in moderation.
Do your best to avoid highly sweetened juice drinks, squashes and fizzy drinks.


Always the best drink for kids. More and more schools are introducing a water policy, providing free water bottles for kids to carry with them into lessons, and ensuring that bottles are regularly refilled.

Your children should always have access to water, and should have more water than any other drink during the day. If they’re not keen on plain water, try sparkling mineral water, add a slice of lemon or lime or a dash of pure fruit juice for flavour.


Plain milk is a great choice, because it contains essential vitamins and minerals and doesn’t cause tooth decay. Children up to age two should drink whole milk. After that they can move on to semi-skimmed as long as they also have a good, varied diet.
Don’t give skimmed milk until children are at least five years old. If your child doesn’t like the taste of milk, flavoured milks still count as healthy drinks for kids, but they may are likely to be sweetened, so limit to once a day and serve with a meal.

Fruit juices 

Look for unsweetened pure juices. Avoid products labelled as juice drink, which may contain as little as 5% juice and be sweetened with more sugar than is found in a can of cola.
Even pure unsweetened fruit juices contain natural fruit sugars which can cause tooth decay. Juices are best drunk at mealtimes, and not sipped throughout the day, when they’re more likely to damage teeth. Limit children to the one glass of pure juice a day which counts towards their five portions of fruit and veg.

Fruit smoothies

Much liked by children but, as with fruit juices, they are high in natural sugars, so enjoy them in moderation. For best nutritional values, look for varieties made from whole fruit, not concentrate. Smoothies are expensive, and it’s cheaper to make your own. Try them as a once or twice a week lunchbox treat.

Fruit squashes

Another overly sweet choice, providing precious little nutrition and shed-loads of sugar. Check the label and choose low sugar/high juice varieties. Dilute well, and serve with meals only

Fizzy drinks

Most children and young people consume too much sugar, and more of it comes from fizzy drinks than anywhere else.

Fruit drinks, colas, ‘sports drinks’ are all low in nutrients, high in additives and, if sweetened with sugar rather than artificial sweeteners, in calories.

The metal in the can costs more than the ingredients, mainly water laced with additives, sugar or sweetener and caffeine. One can of normal cola contains 10 – that’s 10 – teaspoons of sugar.

Drinking too many canned fizzy drinks has been linked to skin problems, bad teeth, obesity, poor concentration and, in adolescent girls, lowered bone density. Yet these drinks still account for 20% of the drinks bought for consumption in the home. If they feature on your shopping list, resolve to stop buying them now, and switch to healthy drinks for kids.

If necessary, cut down first to ease your family off them, then cut them out all together. Ignore the protests. There is nothing good about these drinks, and you owe it to your family’s long-term health to stop bringing home those giant bottles of fizz, once and for all.

Make your own Remember the delicious sodas
and soft drinks your Grandma used to make?

You’ll find authentic old-fashioned soft drink recipes here.

Information on healthy drinking was source from: