Eileen’s Six Smart Ideas for Summer Hydration
Summer vacation and warm weather brings thirsty kids to the kitchen looking for something to drink. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises against energy drinks for children and adolescents because of high amounts of caffeine and other stimulants. Doctors only advise sports drinks during or after rigorous exercise because of the sugar content (concern for obesity and dental caries). What can we do to keep kids hydrated and satisfied during the active summer months?
1. Water, water and more water! Mineral waters are especially helpful on those hot, active days when kids need to replenish electrolytes lost during vigorous play. The Kids Health website: http://goo.gl/u4ZA99 gives the perfect explanation for children, telling them why water is important and how much they should be drinking.
2. Healthier sports drinks. For those hottest days when kids are active outside, you can make healthy electrolyte drinks in your kitchen. You can bypass the sugar, food dyes, caffeine and other additives included in many sports drinks but still include ingredients that replace electrolytes. Check out this great website for more information on electrolyte drinks and a super recipe: http://goo.gl/hXIFhs.
3. Smoothies are delicious. They give active and on-the-go kids the nutrients they need all summer long. A basic smoothie recipe made in the blender can include berries, a banana, a good fat like flax or coconut oil, protein powder or tofu, spinach and avocado.
4. Five a day. Help kids keep track of whether they are eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day. Fresh vegetables are particularly high in antioxidants to protect muscle and brain, and minerals that will replace those lost with active play.
5. A good breakfast. One that contains healthy proteins and fats can help to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels prime all day. Think creatively by including egg salad or tuna fish and crackers, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, a breakfast burrito or leftover hamburgers from the night before. The website, What to expect, has fun ideas: http://goo.gl/PofC5b.
6. Here are some refreshing recipes from Kirsten Shabaz, fresh food educator at Valley Natural Foods. Kids love slushy drinks, so that’s a great trigger word. And flavored water is easy to make.
Mixed Berry Slushy
2 C. unsweetened almond milk
10 – 12 whole frozen strawberries
1/3 C. frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.
Strawberry Lemon Water
2 C. fresh sliced strawberries
1 lemon, sliced
1 gallon water
Place sliced strawberries, lemon slices and water in a large pitcher and refrigerate for 3-5 hours or until water reaches desired taste. You can use raspberries and blueberries in addition to the strawberries if desired. To make Citrus Water, place slices of oranges and lemons in the water and let flavors blend to desired taste.