Good nutrition comes from more than what you eat, it also comes from what you drink! Choosing the right beverages for you and your family is important for healthy living. Here is some information on healthy beverage choices and some beverages to avoid.
Water is the best option when thirst hits. Water is necessary for good health, including regulating your body temperature and organ function. For the best hydration, water should be your main source for fluid.
How much water do you need? Look at the table below to see the minimum recommended amount of water you should drink each day. Make sure to drink extra water when doing physical activity, while outside on a hot day, or any other time you are sweating.
To add some flavor to water, try infusing it with fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs. Infusing water is as easy as adding freshly cut produce directly into a glass or pitcher of water. For a strong flavor, allow your choice of fruit, vegetable, or herb to infuse in a pitcher of water for several hours in the refrigerator, then strain the produce from the water and keep the naturally flavored water for up to 2 days in your refrigerator. Be sure to wash your produce before using it to infuse. Some flavor combinations to try include watermelon and mint, cucumber and orange, strawberry and lemon, but the options are endless.
Milk is another healthy beverage for children and adults. Milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which are important for healthy bones and teeth. Whole milk is appropriate for children 12 to 24 months old. After the age of 2 years, 1% milk is a better choice for the whole family because it has all the same vitamins and minerals as whole milk but with less fat.
Beverages to limit
100% fruit juice can be a nutritious beverage. A serving of 100% fruit juice is 4 oz. or a ½ cup and counts as one serving of fruit. Fruit juices contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but they are also high in sugar and low in fiber so it is important to limit this beverage to no more than 4 oz. per day.
Soda, sports drinks, sweet tea, and other sweetened beverages should also be limited. These drinks contain a high amount of added sugar and little nutritional value. For kids, caffeinated beverages such as sodas, energy drinks, and coffee should also be avoided. Caffeine can cause restlessness and sleep disturbances for children. Drinking water consistently can help you feel more energized. Try keeping a bottle of water nearby to encourage hydration.