Healthy Summer Hydration
Kids Love These Homemade Drinks
by Judith Fertig
At day camp or the pool, on the playing field or in the backyard, kids can get really thirsty, especially as temperatures climb. Although filtered water is always a good choice, sugary, carbonated, artificially colored and flavored beverages can be tempting. Having homemade options ready can entice kids to stay hydrated in a healthy way.
“As a sports nutritionist and mother of active kids, I know there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and I get all kinds of questions from parents about what drinks are best for kids,” says Jackie Berning, Ph.D., a registered dietitian, sports nutrition consultant and professor of health science at the University of Colorado, in Colorado Springs. “Parents need to know that all beverages are not created equal when it comes to hydrating them. The best beverages taste good when your child is active, so encourage their drinking more of them,” she says.
According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, the recommended beverage contents for active kids during sports and other activities should contain at least 100 milligrams (mg) of sodium and at least 28 mg of potassium per eight ounces. It should be noncarbonated.
We asked two moms keen on nutrition how they include these elements in drinks that kids will like.
Michele Olivier, the mother of daughters, Elliette and Parker, views herself as both a lover of food and a control freak. The Denver, Colorado, recipe blogger started off making food for her baby and toddler. As her kids grew and their nutritional needs changed, she created new recipes, including healthy sports drinks that both balance electrolytes and hydrate.
While Elliette loves water and has no trouble staying hydrated, Parker loves juice, so Mom had to “make something that looks like juice but is healthy,” says Olivier. Four main ingredients are a little frozen fruit left over from breakfast smoothies, a bit of honey for sweetening, a dash of Himalayan sea salt and water or herbal tea or coconut water. She might also add fresh mint, ginger or other natural flavorings (BabyFoode.com).
Heather Dessinger, a mom of three and blogger of recipes and natural mothering tips from Santa Fe, Tennessee, makes a drink based on coconut water with lime juice, raw honey and sea salt for older kids that play soccer or other warm-weather sports. Dessinger describes herself as a researcher and healthy living DIY fan (Mommypotamus.com).
With homemade drinks, we know exactly what is—and what isn’t—in them. They can be made in batches and kept in the refrigerator. Dessinger relates, “I’ve found that when I make a batch with honey, which is naturally antimicrobial, and store it in the coldest part of the fridge, my homemade sports drink lasts for at least a week.”
Judith Fertig writes cookbooks plus foodie fiction from Overland Park, KS (JudithFertig.com).