I have to drink water?

Sugary drinks (June 2014)


Children should be given only water to drink with meals to help tackle the obesity crisis, experts argue.

BBC News 26th June, 2014


The Problem

One of the main issues with fizzy drinks are the empty calories they contain.  A can of cola (330ml) contains approx. 35g sugar; around 140Kcal.  That is basically the daily sugar intake for a child. These calories have no real nutritional value.  In an era when children are often more sedentary the problem is just magnified.  In addition fizzy drinks contain acids that can affect the enamel on your child's teeth, making it thinner.


What can you do?

  • Encourage children to reduce their intake of fizzy drinks.  Many families have found reducing fizzy drinks to only have at special occasions has helped.  If your child is wilful then help yourself by not having it in the cupboard and just buying it in for those times when it will be drunk.
  • In addition it is worth keeping sweet drinks to meal times to protect their teeth.
  • Form good habits from the start.  When you wean your child make sure that it is water that you introduce alongside milk.  You can try introducing water from a spouted cup or beaker, some find it helps. 
  • If you give fruit juice try diluting it 50:50 with water.
  • Keeping a bottle of water (from the tap is fine) in the fridge can make it more appealing.  Initially you could try separate bottles for each member of the family and see who is drinking their recommended amount :)
  •  If your child is thirsty, it's better to give them water than to encourage a taste for sweet drinks.