Monday, June 2, 2014

Drinking in Summer - Ideas for Healthy Beverages

Isn't June grand?! The last month of Spring (and the warmest and sunniest of them all!) With school out and the kids all at home, it feels like it is summer already. Perhaps the clutter of cups, empty soda cans and water bottles all over my house and lawn are making it feel that way. - Or like I had some huge party over the weekend and no one stayed around to help clean up.

If your house is like mine, you have a lot of thirsty little bodies that are constantly wanting "a drink". Most of my kids can get a drink by themselves, but I have two that are still too little to reach the cups and the water in the fridge. But being able to get themselves a drink of water does not always equate with being able to pick up after themselves. Here are some ideas that we are going to be trying in our house to cut down on sugary beverages, drink more water and cut the waste / clutter of all those cups and water bottles.

We make a jug of Crystal Light (or other sugar-free beverage) once a day. Around 2 o'clock or so - the hottest part of the day. Everyone can have a nice tall glass with lots of ice. Other than that, we try and teach them that water is the best choice and that water is what their bodies Really want. I have found that in my kids, they actually want to keep their bodies healthy and treat them right. Knowing how something is good (or something else is bad) for you can really go a long way in helping them make decisions of their own.

We are trying a simple, single cup per person (for water) during the day program.  If someone needs to come in a get a drink of water from the fridge - find the cup that you were using before. (They stack nicely on the little counter next to my fridge, but you can leave them on the edge of the sink or I have heard about moms gluing magnets to theirs and sticking them to the fridge. Since they only have water in them (and they are only being used by one person that don't need to be washed all that often and then everyone is responsible for creating just one dirty dish and saving lots of money and waste in water bottles.

If you have kids (or yourself) that just can't stand to drink plain water try adding just a splash or two of Real fruit juice to a glass of water. Just enough to give it flavor. While 100% fruit juice is good for you, it can add up to a lot of extra calories and sugar if you are consuming it instead of water. It also can end up costing quite a bit because Real fruit juice does not come cheaply. You can also try adding pieces of actual chopped fruit (or veggies) like strawberries, apples, peaches or cucumbers. They flavor water beautifully and you will really enjoy how delicious and refreshing it is. You can also add fresh herbs like mint. Try the herbs and fruit together!

The last piece of advice is to stay way from added sugars, caffeine and added sodium.  These aren't things your body needs in the course of a normal day and it isn't good for you body to start to crave or depend on them. I understand the desire as much as anybody to sit on your porch at night and drink an icy cold Coke, but don't confuse the "treat" that you are having with something you are trying to supply your body with to survive (and be the healthiest it can be) Sure it is coming into the summer season and we all want to kick back and live a little bit. But we also have to actually Live these next few months and we all will be happier parents and kids and families if we are the healthiest we can be.