Back-to-School: 5 Sugary Drink Alternatives for Lunchtime
Water1 of 6
We know you have heard it a million times before, but water is the best drink option for you and your kids. Water is free of all the added sugars traditionally found in store-bought fruit juices, and, of course, it has zero calories. Also, water helps regulate the body's temperature and carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. If your child doesn't drink enough water, he or she could suffer from dehydration, which can cause headaches and fatigue. If it's difficult to get your kid to drink water, try adding fresh fruit, such as strawberries or blueberries, for extra flavor.
Milk2 of 6
There's a reason milk is a common staple found in many school cafeterias. Low-fat milk is a great source of vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and protein. Protein keeps kids full and energized while the other nutrients help build strong bones. Low-fat milk has less saturated fat than whole milk, but if your child is lactose-intolerant or just doesn't like milk, plenty of milk alternatives such as soy, rice or almond have a large supply of protein and calcium.
Homemade Fruit Juice3 of 6
Fruits are high in fiber and loaded with tons of nutrients, but many of the juices found in your local grocery store are loaded with sugar. Instead, opt for a 100-percent juice option or, better yet, make your own. There are many combinations your child might enjoy. Start by juicing a mixture of some of their favorite fruits, then continue to add unique combinations once you get them hooked. Just make sure to keep these cool until lunchtime.
Smoothie4 of 6
Smoothies pack the fiber of fruit with the added protein found in dairy products. Blend strawberries, blueberries and a banana with low-fat milk and Greek yogurt. We suggest throwing some spinach or kale into your smoothie mix. We promise your child won't even taste it.
Coconut Water5 of 6
Coconut water is high in potassium and has less sugar, sodium and calories than sports drinks. Potassium plays an important role in nerve function and maintaining the body's normal blood pressure, and it's a great electrolyte-replacer. Coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste and has less sugar than some fruit juices, making it a perfect drink for your kid's lunch.