Text Options for the Visually Impaired Font Size: a- A+ Color: A A A Revert 
Close vision bar
Open vision bar
What Kids Should Drink

What Kids Should Drink.

Serve Water and Milk

For kids of all ages, water and milk are the best choices, so let them flow. Besides having zero calories, water is a no-sugar thirst-quencher. And 1 cup of milk has 300 milligrams of calcium, so it's a big contributor to a child's daily needs.

Here's how much calcium kids need each day:

  • toddlers (ages 1 to 3 years): 700 milligrams of calcium daily
  • kids (ages 4 to 8 years): 1000 milligrams
  • older kids (ages 9 to 18 years): 1,300 milligrams

The current dietary guidelines for milk or equivalent dairy products or fortified soy beverages are:

  • Kids ages 2 to 3 should drink 2 cups every day.
  • Kids 4 through 8 should have 2½ cups per day.
  • Kids 9 and older should have 3 cups per day.

Choose fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk products most of the time.

When kids drink too much juice, juice drinks, sports drinks, and soda, these beverages can crowd out the milk they need. Sugary drinks also can pile on the calories.

This chart shows the calories and sugar in different beverages:

DRINK

SIZE

CALORIES

SUGAR

Water

8 oz (240 ml)

0

0 g

Low-fat milk

8 oz (240 ml)

100

11 g

100% orange juice

8 oz (240 ml)

110

22 g

Juice drink (10% fruit juice)

8 oz (240 ml)

150

38 g

Powdered drink mix (with sugar added)

8 oz (240 ml)

90

24 g

Soda

8 oz (240 ml)

100

27 g

 

Put Limits on Juice

If your child likes juice, be sure to serve 100% juice. Also follow these recommended limits:

  • up to 6 months old: no juice
  • 6-12 months old: no more than 2-4 ounces per day, always served in a cup
  • 1-6 years old: 4-6 ounces of juice per day
  • 7-18 years old: 8-12 ounces of juice per day

Say No to Soda

Soft drinks are commonly served to kids, but they have no nutritional value and are high in sugar. Drinking soda and other sugared drinks can cause tooth decay. Colas and other sodas often contain caffeine, which kids don't need. In addition, soft drinks may be taking the place of calcium-rich milk.

One study found that, on average, preschoolers drank less than the recommended 16 ounces of milk each day while drinking 8 ounces of soda and fruit drinks (not including 100% fruit juice).

If soda habits start when kids are little, chances are they will drink increasing amounts as they get older. In older kids and teens, drinking soda has been linked to excessive weight gain and other problems.

That said, many kids like soda and will request it. As a rule, don't serve it to babies, toddlers, or preschoolers. With older kids, let them know it's a once-in-a-while beverage. Don't ban it entirely if your kids like it now and then — that's likely to make it more appealing and them more inclined to overdo it when they get the chance!

Fulton Independent School  |  304 West State Line   |  Fulton, KY 42041