As a dietitian for kids, very often mothers ask me what drink they can give their kids. Most mothers, I find, give fruit juices to their children. There are so many healthy options to choose from, but mothers are not aware of them. As a child dietitian, my recommendations are as follows:
1. Fruit Milkshakes – add half a banana or honey for sweetness instead of sugar.
2. Aam panna – High in vitamin C, protects against heat stroke. Add jaggery instead of sugar for sweetness.
3. Bael sharbat – high in vitamin A, C and potassium, it is excellent for good digestion and all digestive system related disorders.
4. Lassi/chaach/buttermilk – one of the few drinks that are salty yet loved universally. Use kala namak (not rock salt) instead of table salt. Add fresh mint or coriander leaves for additional flavour. You can make it in south Indian style too by adding roasted mustard seeds and curry leaves.
5. Smoothies – again very healthy as it combines the goodness of yogurt and fruits. Add banana or honey for sweetness.
6. Nimbu pani – very refreshing yet healthy. High in vitamin C and excellent for acidity. Use jaggery for sweetness.
7. Coconut water – fresh coconut water is a storehouse of potassium. It can be used as ORS for toddlers.
8. Watermelon juice – it is a delicious low-calorie drink for kids and does not need any sweetener. The fruit is 92% water and again loaded with potassium and lycopene (antioxidant).
One of the best alternatives to water for school is infused water or flavoured water. Make fresh at home. Play with different flavour combinations. Throw away any left-over water when they come back from school.
- Lemon and mint
- Cucumber, mint and basil
- Mango and kiwi
- Orange As a rule of thumb, and as a child dietician, I recommend you to always give your kids water to carry to school instead of a drink. This is because they’re in school for 8 hours daily. If you give them a drink, there’s some sugar element always, natural or added. As the kids cannot possibly rinse their mouths every time after a drink, the oral bacteria will have a field day and cause cavities.