by Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE
Whew… it is HOT! This makes sense of course, because it is summer in the South. That not only means heat but water as well. Swimming, boating, sprinklers and water balloon fights abound.
However as school resumes, the water of summer may be regulated to the weekend but water is essential for hydration, health and proper functioning. So, how much water is recommended? There are many variables to consider such as weather, age, clothing, equipment, activity and other foods consumed. Fruits and vegetables contain higher water content than other foods. Read as: eat more fruits and vegetables.
Basics on preventing dehydration:
• Dress for the weather. In the summer this means lightweight light colored clothing.
• Begin the day well hydrated.
•Drink a glass of water every morning. Don’t worry! I am not suggesting you get rid of your morning coffee but I do think adding a cup of water to your morning routine is a great idea. Encourage the kiddos to drink some water before they head out for the day too.
• If your children are involved in organized sports, be sure they start hydrated and take water breaks once involved. Make sure they bring some water with them and that the coach encourages water breaks—some times we need to remind our children to drink during activities or play as they can forget.
•When swimming in water it is important for children to drink water for hydration purposes as well.
Of course I am emphasizing water here but there are at least two aisles in every grocery store packed with things besides water to drink.
The bottom line is: Kids should drink water, milk, (2-3 cups, reduced fat preferred for children over 2), and juice (4-6 ounces for kids under 6 and 8-12 ounce for older children).
What about sports drinks? In general, sports drinks add calories and sugar. Sports drinks are designed to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweat and certainly they can be useful for activitites lasting more than one hour or during extreme heat, but water is the best choice. However, if your child does not like water and will only drink sports drinks, then common sense tells us, it is better to give your child something to drink than not. Hydration is more important than limiting sugar and sweeteners.
What about soda? This is easy, avoid soda! Sodas are high in calories and low in nutrients as in “0” nutrients.
The issue of calories in beverages comes up so much these days because of the issue of obesity in children as it is related to the increased consumption of high calorie beverages. One 20 ounce soda has the same number of calories as three medium baked potatoes-just to put it in perspective for you.
I like to go back to the 90/10 rule I use for food and use it for beverages too. If 90% of the things you and your children are drinking are healthy and 10% are not– you’re doing a fine job! If your proportions are off a bit begin making improvements.
The overall goal is healthy beverages at meals (milk and juice) and water between meals. Not only does this improve nutrient intake but it helps prevent cavities as well.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
Aguas frescas are popular fresh-fruit drinks in Mexico. This is simple yet so refreshing the literal translation is: fresh water.
2 pound seedless watermelon (about 6 ½ cups watermelon chopped)
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lime (additional lime for garnish)
Sweetener if needed (taste before you sweeten, you may not need additional sweetener)
Place the watermelon in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour watermelon puree through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher; add water, juice and sweetener if needed. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour and serve in chilled glasses with a lime garnish.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutrient Breakdown: Calories 45, Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 5mg, Carbohydrate 15g, Protein 0g.
Until next time: Eat Well, Drink Well & Live Well!
Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/eatingwellwithkim. To search for specific recipes go to www.universityhealth.org/ewwk. You can also watch the segments at www.wrdw.com/ewwk.
This article appears in the August 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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