From energy giving food to healthy drinks for kids, there are numerous things that constitute a child’s nutritious diet. But ‘Hydration’ is one of the most essential health components for both children and adults, for the simple reason that our bodies are made up of approximately 70% water. This fact makes it inevitable to maintain a regular flow of fluids in our body all around the clock, especially significant for active, growing children and teenagers.
While these bundles of energy are at play their bodies lose water throughout the day due to sweating, breathing and urination, more so in the hot summer season. Optimum liquid intake is required to replenish this water loss and avoid dehydration. Kids are more prone to dehydration than adults because they often don’t acknowledge their thirst while playing and they are much more exposed to heat than adults.
Causes And Symptoms Of Dehydration
It is important to know what contributes to a dehydrated state for your growing kid and how that can be recognized, to provide the right care for your child’s nutrition.
Dehydration shows up when your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to function effectively. If the lost fluids are not replenished with healthy drinks for kids, they get dehydrated. This occurs more in the growing years of children aged between 7-14 years, as they are more active in this age span.
One of the most common causes of dehydration in young children is severe diarrhea and vomiting if they get sick. Mild infections or fever can also lead to dehydration in the body. Excessive sweating and increased urination due to the running around while sports or other activities of kids adds to it as well.
Symptoms indicating your child could be dehydrated:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Infrequent or Dark yellow/brown urine
- Dry lips, tongue, mouth or throat
- Sticky mouth
- Sleepy and irritable state
- Flushed skin
- Rapid pulse
- Feeling excessively hot or cold
Encourage Kids To Drink More Water
One piece of advice that every parent must adhere to is to encourage their kid to have more fluids. But in the hush-hush and humdrum of a busy life, while working hard to adapt a healthy lifestyle, parents unintentionally tend to ignore the importance of encouraging children to drink more water for better health of their child.
As per studies and research by various health organizations; the recommended intake of water for children as per their age is as follows:
|GLASSES OF WATER
|9 to 12 years
|13 years and Above
Creative Ways To Increase Your Kid’s Water Intake
As kids are swayed by interesting things rather than sticking to repetitive advice that’s good for their health, let’s look at some creative ways to increase the fluid intake for these flighty and playful minds.
- Keep water bottles, filled with water, handy and in the vicinity of children around the house. Place one especially in the area your kid spends the most of their time.
- Buy bottles for your kids with their favorite character or cartoon drawn on them. It’s more likely to attract them that way.
- Inculcate a habit of serving water or other healthy fluids with your kid’s meals or nibbles.
- Lead by example, keeping yourself adequately hydrated is as important as keeping your child hydrated, develop a habit of drinking water and fluids frequently in front of your kid.
Importance Of Health Drinks For Kids
Consuming plenty of fluids before sports or playing outdoors is a must for growing and active children. A fluid-schedule can help them get their water intake or optimum hydration before, during and after their energy-sapping games or activities.
As it is truly said, “Water is the elixir of life”, water and milk or milk alternatives should be a staple in your child’s nutrition to replace the water loss from the body during the day. Children are far more attracted to flavored liquids than plain water or milk. So parents need to amp up their game when it comes to choosing energy giving food or healthy drinks for kids. There are various interesting alternatives to fulfill this need. Selecting healthy drinks for kids can be challenging, so here are some healthy options:
- Milk – Milk is an excellent source of calcium and other nutrients. Milk-protein is of high nutritional value because it is enriched with vitamin B, as well as small amounts of vitamins C and D. It also contains all the essential amino acids. Adding Bournvita to a glass of milk can go a long way to provide the required nutrients to your child.
- Fresh Juices – Freshly extracted or homemade juice is a good alternative to plain water. Fruits are energy-giving food and contain an array of healthy vitamins to boost your child’s health.
- Energy Drinks – Coconut water is a natural energy boosting drink that also aids in increasing the white blood cells in the body. It is a rich source of magnesium. Magnesium helps move calcium and potassium into the muscles, and it also helps with energy production and organ function.
- Infused water– There are abundant health benefits of consuming infused water including appetite control, hydration, immune defense, heartburn prevention, blood sugar regulation and weight management. You can infuse the water with different fruits to make this health drink for kids.
Child Nutrition Unlocked
Parents around the globe are worried sick to provide their kids with energy giving food that is healthy and nutrient-rich. What’s the best diet for my kid? What are the best options available in food and drinks for a healthy diet? These are a few pressing issues that form an integral part of a parent’s life on a regular basis.
How about a cursive-look at the most important nutrients required for active and growing kids, especially in the ages between 7-14 years?
Calcium is a major component in aiding the development of bones and teeth. The more bone density your child has now, the more reserves they’ll have when bone-loss begins in later years.
Calcium-rich foods: Milk, cheese and other dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables such as okra, breads or anything with fortified flour.
Kids between the ages of 7-14 years require at least 8-10mg of iron intake daily. Our body utilizes iron to make hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Iron also helps make myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Formation of some hormones also require iron intake.
Sources of iron: Spinach, red meats, legumes, shellfish, pumpkin seeds, nuts, dried apricots, chickpeas, kidney beans.
Energy giving foods that are high in fiber also usually contain many essential nutrients, like Vitamins C and E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Children require almost equal amounts of fiber as adults, even when the size of an adult and child varies.
Fiber-rich foods: Lentils, almonds, Fruits like pears, apples, strawberries, bananas, avocados, vegetables like broccoli, beets, carrots, beans like chickpeas, kidney beans, Cereals like oats, quinoa.
- Vitamin B and B12
Vitamin B promotes cell health, growth of blood cells, energy levels, eyesight, brain function, effective digestion, appetite, proper nerve functioning. So a proper intake of vitamin B helps ensure a healthy heart, fast metabolism, high energy and healthy nervous system. One of the most important B vitamins is B12.
Vitamin B12 Food Sources: B12 mostly is obtained from milk or dairy products, meats and eggs.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for bone growth and development in children, and even for a baby developing in the mother’s womb. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium in our body. Serious vitamin D deficiency in children can cause severe problems like rickets, delayed motor development, etc. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Babies and children require at least 400 IU of vitamin D.
Vitamin D food sources: Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and eggs yolks are excellent sources of vitamin D. Also fortified milk and cereals, and red meats are a good source.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E helps strengthen the natural defense system of the body against illnesses and infections, which is the immune system. This vitamin is also well known for helping maintain healthy skin and eyes.
Food sources for Vitamin E: Almonds, Sunflower seeds, peanuts, pumpkin, sunflower oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, red bell peppers, spinach.
A nutritious diet stashed with energy giving food is fuel for your growing children, who want to conquer the world with their enthusiasm and energy while they are making their way to adulthood. Hydration is the way to keep the road to that journey smooth. The right choice of health drinks for kids ensures they stay hydrated and healthy with their hyper active lifestyles.
The views expressed are that of the expert alone.
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