Hydration Breakdown

 

Some parenting decisions can be so easy (Your kids have to wear their coat in the winter, no practicing baseball next to the TV, no waterslides inside, etc.) and some decisions are just plain difficult.

Most of the difficult decisions relate to food. AM I right?

It was SO EASY when they were younger! Mash up a fruit or veggie and you’re good to go. You could make every single decision for them and everything was just awesome.

Once your kids start to get a little older, all the questions start creeping in. And not just the ones you’re asking yourself…but the ones from your kids!

Can I have juice?

What about pop at the birthday party?

Can I have chocolate milk after hockey practice? The commercial says it’s good for me!

Sigh. Decisions, decisions.

I’m going to break down all the drinks for your kids, and what I recommend to fuel them for performance.

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is: Kids are adaptable and even if your kids are used to sugar-loaded drinks right now, they can learn to stay hydrated in better ways.

The bad news is this: Your kids really don’t NEED sports drinks, pop, chocolate milk, or juice.

GASP.

I know, I know. Extreme, right? I get it. But hear me out.

I’m not saying you can’t treat them every once in a while but here’s the thing: it is a TREAT.

Yes, my kids get juice every once in a while. I try to make it the best quality juice I can, and they appreciate that it is simply that, a TREAT. Once you see my children suck back a juice box at a birthday party, you’ll understand why I limit it-they could drink a GALLON of juice in under a minute (like most kids). That’s a lot of sugar, natural or not.

That said, yes…my kids occasionally have juice so don’t yell at me if you see them drinking it…or chocolate milk. I’m not evil-they're kids, and all-or-nothing doesn't work for us (or for most!).

Here’s my breakdown:

Juice

I don’t care if it’s from concentrate, organic, freshly squeezed, or punch. It’s full of sugar and should not be given to kids each and every day. I realize that some kids do not like drinking water. Sometimes adding a little juice to water to keep them hydrated is a necessity, especially if they’re young. Try to slowly wean them off the juice to have them eventually drinking water. I send my kids to school every day with a reusable water bottle...they get used to it, promise.

Sports Drinks

I’m sorry (not really), but these are unnecessary. You have better options than sugar filled (or artificially sweetened) sports drinks. Not to mention they’re filled with artificial colourings that no one needs in their diet.

Ok...if your child is an elite athlete and is out in the hot sun and sweating pounds off their bodies, then SURE. But for an hour practice or a game when they're only playing a portion of the time? Water is what they need.

Other options include coconut water, a squeeze from a real orange, lemon or lime into water, or eating a piece of fruit (like a banana) and hydrating with, you guessed it, plain old water!

I understand that you want to give your kids the best-and the last thing you want is for them to have muscle cramps or feel unwell, but in the long run-giving sports drinks to your kids is going to keep them coming back for more and craving more sugar.

My BIGGEST ISSUE with sports drinks is creating the habit and dependance on these drinks when they're mostly a marketing ploy.

You can find my recipe for a homemade sports drink at the bottom of this post if you feel you really need it!

Energy Drinks

I’m sure you can guess my opinion on these as well. Kids don’t need energy drinks. They are full of SO MUCH SUGAR and caffeine that kids simply don't need. If kids are properly hydrated, getting enough sleep, and eating a well balanced diet, this should not be a part of their lives. Period. ESPECIALLY young kids.

Pop

You already know what I’m going to say here. There is nothing good about pop. Nothing. It is pure and total junk. Here are the typical ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine.

Mmmmm. Bleh.

If you want to fuel your body for any reason, pop is not going to do it. There is an obesity epidemic happening to our children and pop is one of the main reasons for this problem. It’s true, read more about it here: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/

Avoid pop. Just avoid it. Please. Do your family a favour and strike it from your regular diet completely.

Chocolate Milk

I know, I know. All the commercials say chocolate milk is great after a workout or for athletic kids. But why does it have to be chocolate? If you’re not adverse to milk products, just plain old milk is a better option. And at the very least, it’s got vitamins, minerals, and protein to help your kids.

That said, if you’re going to give your kids a treat or something sweet-chocolate milk is better than juice.

Yes, I said that. The reason is: Although juice typically contains lots of vitamin C, milk contains protein, calcium, and B vitamins. Plus one cup of chocolate milk and one cup of juice has about the same amount of sugar but milk has more to offer. If you take away the chocolate, milk only has about 13g of sugar so really, it seems like the better choice, no?

If you want my alternative to chocolate milk that is still chocolatey goodness and will FUEL your kids, send me a message and I'll send you back the recipe.

Sooo...what is the best way to hydrate your body?

The best hydration for your body is water.

Start getting in the habit of carrying around a water bottle so you can sip on water all day. Chugging a litre of water before activity won’t hydrate your muscles the way you want, and you’ll end up having to go to the washroom halfway through practice.

You can make water more interesting by infusing it with citrus, fruit, or even cucumber.

Most of our body is made of water, and our body depends on water to function.

You lose water through sweat, breathing, and going to the washroom-which means you need to constantly replenish your body!

If you have a schedule that has you practicing or playing every other day, you need to be drinking water every 2 hours, every day to keep up your hydration.

If you forget to drink water, it's ok-just start sipping. Pick up where you left off.

Water is the #1 drink to hydrate your body.

What can happen if you get dehydrated?

Loss of focus, cramping, headaches, low energy, dizziness, muscle fatigue, and grumpiness.

What is really important to me is helping young athletes create healthy habits that they can carry through their athletic career and life. Drinking more water is something we all aspire to do-imagine if we already had that healthy habit?

Tips to drink staying hydrated:

  • Keep a reusable water bottle with you
  • Drink a big lass of water first thing in the morning
  • Constantly sip
  • Make it delicious with citrus, berries, or cucumber
  • Eat water-filled fruits such as melon

Questions? Get in touch anytime at [email protected]

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