Water is needed by the body to function effectively
Children should be encouraged to drink water to prevent dehydration and quench their thirst rather than drinks containing sugar and/or caffeine (such as cordial, sports drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks and soft drinks).
Reduced-fat milk drinks (for those above 2yrs) are also suitable as they contain calcium but be aware of the high sugar content in flavoured milk drinks.
Did you know that thirst is actually a sign of dehydration?
By the time you feel thirsty you are already quite dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help to prevent thirst. The best way to tell if you’ve had enough water is to look at the colour of urine. The darker it is the more water you need! Drinking plenty of water is also important to prevent constipation in children.
If your child is tired of drinking water, try adding frozen fruit or squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice into it. For more ideas see our delicious funky water recipes.
Are sports drinks or electrolyte drinks good to hydrate us?
In most cases water is the best choice of drink when we feel thirsty, even when we’ve been active. Sports or electrolyte drinks may help to replace salts and minerals lost through heavy sweat, but can contain lots of sugar. Most people never need these.
A sports drink or electrolyte drink might be helpful to quickly hydrate you if:
- You are doing intense exercise for longer than 90 minutes
- You have lost a lot of fluid through vomiting, diarrhoea or sweating
Sports drinks can have up to nine teaspoons of sugar per bottle. You don’t need a sports drink to quench your thirst, or for day to day activities. Choose water first!
Fruit Juice vs Fruit Drink
Do you know the difference between fruit juice and fruit drink?
contains only juice. If sugar is added the product can’t be labelled 100% fruit juice.
often contain a lot of added sugar and minimal nutrients from real fruit.
When drinking juice, try to choose 100% fruit juice and drink no more than ½ a cup per day. This is because there is a high sugar content in juice (think about how many oranges you need to squeeze to get just one glass!) Young children in particular don't need juice at all and water or plain low fat milk is always the best choice for them.
Choosing water and eating fruit is a better option as you miss out on important nutrients and fibre that you would consume from eating whole fruits.