We all want the best for our kids. Health, happiness, and the tools to be successful long after they leave the nest. But after a certain age, it becomes extremely difficult to manage our kids’ choices, let alone their caloric intake. Walking down the beverage aisles of your grocery store is overwhelming these days, and it doesn’t help that kids are primed to gravitate towards sugary drinks they recognize from ads on their favorite television shows. So what can you do to make sure that when you’re not around, your kid is making healthy choices?
Water down some of their favorite fruit juices.
Not all fruit juices are created equal. While some contain synthetic flavors and excessively high sugar content, others genuinely are made of 100% real fruit juice and the sugars they contain really are the right kinds. In those cases, one mom advises, consistently watering down a half a cup of fruit juice with half a cup of water trains your kids’ tastebuds to expect a normal level of sweetness in their drink and no more.
Don’t just watch what they drink… watch what they watch.
Believe it or not, in the late nineties, there was a concerted effort in the beverage industry to target a younger demographic of Americans. Ads were crafted in such a way that children would feel empowered to stand up to boring ‘grown ups’ who obviously just ‘don’t get’ them. As communications technologies evolve and television-watching becomes an increasingly customizable experience, you should do what you can to manage the kinds of advertisements your children are exposed to.
Talk with the parents of your children’s friends.
Like one mom notes, finding healthy alternatives is hard not just because kids’ tastebuds have been trained to expect the sickly sweet flavors of corporate beverages, but there’s a stigmatization from other kids around healthy food. Showing up to lunch with a oatmeal bar and a plastic water bottle feels pretty bad when all your friends have potato chips, brownies, and Capri Suns. Who knows, maybe they’ll be on the same page and you can start some kind of coalition to influence the kinds of foods your kids see in the lunchroom.
Make the alternative to sugary drinks just as fun and exciting
Kids love gadgets, so why not use that as an opportunity to get them drinking more water? Cirkul co-Founder Andy Gay says that so far, the patented technology of a Cirkul water bottle has been extremely successful in encouraging children to drink more water. The customized flavor dial gives kids the opportunity to incorporate an element of play in their water-drinking. According to one mom from our studies, "I can't ever get him to drink anything but soda or sugary sports drinks but now I can't get him enough cartridges."
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