What are the best drinks for toddlers? Once your baby is a year old, they can begin drinking cows’ milk. Milk is an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin D. Just be careful not to give too much. An overabundance of milk in a toddler’s diet can actually lead to depletion of iron and constipation. I can tell you from experience! So stay under 24 ounces of milk in a day…check with your pediatrician. Some even suggest between 16 and 22 ounces a day.
Should you buy the pre-flavored milk? I would definitely AVOID these. Milk has natural sugars to begin with. When you purchase the pre-flavored, there is a ton of added sugars! This is terrible for little teeth and bellies.
But my toddler won’t drink milk! You can try using a small amount of powdered Ovaltine or strawberry Quick to milk to give it some flavor…and I guarantee that what YOU think is enough flavor is much less than those pre-flavored milks. Plus you can begin to taper off the amount until you have them drinking white milk. Almond milk has a naturally sweeter taste. Try that!
What about water? Water is a GREAT choice! I have always been envious of my friends who have little water drinking kids! Mine are all juice-aholics! (That’s my fault) and I’m still working at the Elementary School level to teach them that water is delicious, essential, and a healthy choice! Flavor it with some citrus juice to liven it up and drink up!
What about 100% juices? In moderation, juice as a treat is really okay. I encourage all of my families to dilute half juice and half water. Kids are FINE with this. Don’t be like me and allow it to become the main drink. There are still many calories and sugars in juices.
We recently talked about smoothies…which I think are a fun and creative way to get more fruits and veggies in to your child’s diet. Smoothies as a main drink throughout the day would be a bit too much for the belly, and may discourage their little appetites. Use smoothies as a meal or snack or maybe a bedtime treat!
Drinks to avoid…Anything with caffeine! Our toddler’s bodies are so tiny! A little caffeine goes a LONG way and can lead to sleep disruption. If I even have two glasses of iced tea, I get heart palpitations! Think of a little one…which reminds me, many people only think of soda (or “pop”) as caffeine culprits…but iced teas have caffeine as well! And “de-caffeinated” does NOT mean “NO caffeine”, it means LESS…so it’s still there!
More drinks to avoid…soda. Period. This is just not a healthy habit to start. Not even diet soda. Even with less calories, now you’re feeding them sugary substitutes that have other questionable health risks. Just avoid it.
Other drinks to avoid…sugary drinks such as sports drinks, flavored waters (yes, I know it says water), and other boxed or bagged drinks that come in a variety of colors and flavors. They are basically sugar water. Let’s just go for water!
What are your favorite “go to” drinks for your toddlers? What do you pack in your diaper bag when you are out and about all day? Share with us!