One thing we like to focus on in this blog is how to make our children healthier. With childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes, and other weight-related issues affecting more and more children, it’s time for us all to get serious about ways we can make our children healthier.
The first half of the answer is obvious: make sure they are getting exercise. Get them outside and active, and limit the amount of time they are allowed to sit inside watching TV or playing video games. The second half of the answer is making sure that the food they put into their bodies is nutritious and not packed with sugar.
One of the worst things we can give our kids is soda. It has zero nutritional value and is loaded with sugar. The problem is that most kids love soda. I know my son would drink only soda if he were allowed. Unlike my sister, who only ever gave her daughter water to drink, we let our son have fruit juice and he developed a taste for sweet drinks. Now, it’s a battle to curb that habit. Thankfully Country Home adopted their new nutritional guidelines and all he drinks during the day is water and milk. That has helped us immensely.
One of the easiest ways we’ve curbed this habit at home is to cut his juice with water. Orange juice is great because a little bit of juice in a lot of water still adds a lot of flavor. And, now when he asks for soda we simply add orange juice to mineral water so he gets the bubbles.
So that is today’s very simple DIY Dad project: make your kids healthier by cutting out sodas and replacing them with fresh homemade juice “sodas.” The easiest way to do this is to buy fresh-squeezed juice from the supermarket and simply add it to mineral or sparkling water. If you have a juicer, then you have a lot more options. Buy whatever fruit your kids love (and no you can’t juice a banana), juice them and add the juice to the sparkling water. The other day we made strawberry-apple “soda’ and it was a hit.
One word of caution is that these drinks still have sugar in them because fruit has sugar in it. The good thing, however, is that compared to regular soda the natural sweetness of fruit is far less intense and so it will not create the sugar cravings that come with routinely drinking regular sodas. Also, the kids are getting the benefit of all the vitamins and antioxidants that occur naturally in their favorite fruits. So while we shouldn’t be giving these natural “sodas” to our kids all the time either, it is a great way to let them have something a little bit sweet without feeling bad about it.