Written by Smita Srivastava
How to keep your toddler hydrated amidst all the activities they do? What to give them when they feel thirsty in between playtime? Is water enough? What are some of the healthy drinks for toddlers? If all these questions are buzzing in your mind, worry not. For, we have the answers for you.
If you thought finding nutritious and appealing food items for your toddler was a tough task, believe us, when we say that choosing a healthy beverage for your little one is not an easy piece of work either! Because when it’s a matter of selecting a healthy drink for your toddler, it is crucial that the beverage not only provides hydration, but some sort of nourishment as well.
In This Article
Basically, a healthy drink for a toddler is one which is beneficial for them and provides some essential nutrients as well. Few essential healthy drinks within reach are typically milk, fruit juices, and special health mixes prepared with toddler’s palate and nutrient requirement in mind. Natural sources of nutrients are invariably fruit and vegetables. With an understanding of preferences and needs, you can decide on the healthy drinks to introduce to your toddler.
There is a wide variety of beverages being sold in the markets under the garb of being ‘healthy’. But as a parent, one needs to be aware that this is just a marketing gimmick, and if you look closely, you will find how ‘healthy’ these drinks actually are. So, when it comes to your toddler, it’s best to opt for drinks which are genuinely healthy. The top 4 healthy drinks for toddlers are-
Water is a vital drink that your toddler needs every day. Nothing quenches thirst like water. When your toddler has water, it nourishes and refreshes them. Water is essential for many processes in the body which includes functioning of the organs and temperature regulation.
In fact, toddlers’ water requirements are much more than that of adults due to their rapid growth and faster metabolism. Having adequate quantities of water improves functioning of the brain. It contributes to a healthy weight gain and reduces the risk of dental cavities.
Coconut water in its natural form is a wonderful source of hydration for toddlers. It contains many nutrients, electrolytes, and vitamin C which are beneficial. Since toddlers are always up to some activity, they tend to sweat a lot. Sweating leads to loss of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium from their body, which can be easily replenished through coconut water.
Coconut water is also beneficial when the toddler is down with vomiting or diarrhea, as it hydrates the body quickly and prevents dehydration. But, it is always best to have the natural, unsweetened version and not the bottled and packaged stuff which is available in the market and contains artificial flavors and added sugars.
Your toddler may need time to get used to its taste, but it is truly beneficial when you add it to their daily diet. Coconut water does not contain sugar or calories and is a good choice over aerated drinks.
Water that has been infused with natural ingredients like fresh fruits, herbs, vegetables, and spices is called naturally flavored water. The flavor comes without the addition of sweeteners or any other additives.
Naturally flavored water is refreshing and healthy for your toddler, and also a good source of hydration. It is a healthier option when compared to sugary drinks and a pleasant alternative to the less appealing plain water for toddlers. Some of the popular combinations for naturally flavored water you can try making are-
A simple way to flavor water is to fill a pitcher or water bottle with water and add slices of fruits like lemon, orange, or berries. You can add herbs like mint or rosemary. Let them infuse for a few hours or leave it overnight for better flavoring.
A very popular and healthy drink which toddlers may enjoy having is a smoothie. They are also an excellent way to trick your toddler into having more fruits and vegetables. You can make a smoothie by blending ingredients of your choice or your toddler’s choice along with milk or yogurt. Some toddlers run the other way when they see a glass of plain milk, so you can tempt them with a smoothie.
A smoothie is very filling and easy on the stomach for toddlers. You can experiment with a variety of fruits and vegetables and create unique flavors and textures. Smoothies are a healthy and convenient way to have a variety of nutrients in one drink. A smoothie is a meal or a snack in itself as it’s high in calories.
While it’s good to know which are the healthy drinks for a toddlers, it’s also important to be aware of the beverages they need to avoid. Some of the drinks that you should avoid giving to toddlers are-
It is an absolute must to avoid soda and soft drinks at all cost for your toddler. According to PubMed Central, Soda and soft drinks have high sugar content which can lead to weight gain, tooth decay and an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. There is no nutritional value in having a soda or soft drink. It just fills the kids with empty calories. Soda intake causes bloating and discomfort in toddlers. They seem to feel full when they consume it, and this reduces their appetite for more nutritious food.
Some kids may consume caffeinated drinks like- tea, soft drinks, etc. But, toddlers should avoid caffeinated drinks on all counts. They are more sensitive to its effects than adults. Even a small amount of caffeine can cause restlessness, an increased heart rate, and difficulty in sleeping in toddlers. This hampers their growth and development and their overall wellbeing. Caffeine increases urine production and results in dehydration as well.
You should not give packaged juices and other drinks like flavored milk, energy drinks to toddlers. Reason being they contain very high amounts of sugar which is very harmful for kids. In place of juices, give fresh fruits to your little one. And, replace store bought flavored milks and milkshakes with homemade ones. High sugar content in the drinks may put your toddler at risk of developing certain health conditions later in life like- diabetes, obesity, etc. So, better to avoid sugary drinks as much as possible.
In an ideal world, your tiny tot should only be consuming water, milk, and other such healthy drinks. But, even if they slip at times, it’s your duty as a parent to ensure they get back on track. With our list of healthy drinks for toddler, making an informed choice should not be difficult now. It is imperative that toddlers stay properly hydrated. And, as parents it’s up to you to provide them with healthy and age-appropriate beverages.
Plain water is always a great choice for toddlers to hydrate their body on waking up and being prepared for the day. They can have milk, fruit juice, or a smoothie too.
The best drink for toddlers at night is milk. Drinking a small cup of warm milk before they sleep will not only quench their thirst but will also ensure a good night’s sleep for them.
While juice is a strict no-no for babies before 1 year of age, for toddlers, very little quantity once in a while is ok to have. For kids between 1-3 years of age, around 1-1.5 small cups of juice can be given. This juice has to be homemade with only whole fruits and no added sugar. Also, store bought juices are strictly prohibited for little ones.
With a background in Mass media and journalism, Smita comes with rich and vast experience in content creation, curation, and editing. As a mom of a baby girl, she is an excellent candidate for writing and editing parenting and pregnancy content. The content she writes and edits is influenced by her own journey through pregnancy and motherhood. When not writing- She can be found curled up with a book. Or, bingeing on Netflix.Read more.
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