Active children need plenty of fluids.
Around three glasses of milk a day provides enough calcium for bone development.
Low fat milk and dairy products can be offered.
Water should be encouraged at other times.
Sweet drinks such as juice, soft drink or cordial are unnecessary in a child’s diet.
Milk can be combined with fresh fruits for a smoothie as a great afternoon snack.
Breast, formula and cow's milk
While breast, formula and cow’s milk contain the sugar lactose, they’re not considered to be sweet drinks. Milk is important for children as it contains calcium needed for healthy bones. For children less than 12 months old, breast milk or infant formula should be the main drink. Offer plain full cream milk only after 12 months, when your child has reduced breastfeeding or formula. For toddlers and older children, water is preferred, so encourage this. While milk is important for calcium, too much can lead to poor appetite - a limit of about three glasses per day is recommended. Artificially sweetened milk drinks are not recommended.
Fresh fruit is best
As juice comes from fresh fruit, it is easy to believe it is a natural, healthy food that’s full of vitamins. Luckily, it takes only half an orange or half a glass of juice per day to give the vitamin C your child needs. You should encourage your children to eat fresh fruit instead of drinking juice. This will:
- Help with skills such as peeling and chewing
- Teach about different textures, colours and tastes
- Supply fibre to the diet and help prevent constipation.