Children run and play hard in 70-degree weather just as easily as 90-degree weather, so it’s really important to keep them well-hydrated, no matter what season it is. But what if water’s just not what they want to drink?
There are many nutritious alternatives to Kool-Aid, Dr Pepper and fruit-flavored squeeze box drinks. There are two and half tablespoons of sugar in 8 ounces of soda. Visualize that! Sugar consumption can also contribute to dehydration.
The trick is to offer something good that they will drink that doesn’t contain a lot of sugar.
Try Rooibos tea, a drink from South Africa that has been used for centuries to treat babies with colic. Rooibos tastes just like our regular iced tea with a vanilla aftertaste. Many add a dried vanilla bean to the rooibos tea canister for the added taste of vanilla. This wonderful tea has no caffeine and is full of trace minerals that the body needs to maintain a proper electrolyte balance during the hot summer months.
The cousin of Rooibos is the Honeybush tea, which is naturally sweet and also provides a ton of trace minerals. These teas add to the growing bone structure instead of destroying it like the sodas do. They taste great with orange slices or strawberry slices floating in the tea.
Real Root Beer
Try making your own root beer with this mixture of herbs.
2 teaspoons sarsaparilla root
1 teaspoon licorice root
1 teaspoon wintergreen leaves
1 teaspoon stevia leaves (for sweetness- optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon bark
2 cups water
1 quart carbonated water
Simmer herbs in the water in 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover the pan and let cool. Strain out herbs, add carbonated water and serve.
Purple Pineapple Drink
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup of blueberries or any other berries in season 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen 1 banana, peeled
2 teaspoons Flaxseed oil (provides Essential Fatty Acids which are greatly missing from the American diet)
1 Tablespoon wheat germ
Using a blender, whirl the soy milk, pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, blueberries, banana, wheat germ, and oil until smooth. Pour into a glass.
1 cup of chocolate soy milk
1 banana peeled
1/2 cup of ice cubes
1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
Whirl away until smooth! Pour into glasses.
1 cup of soy milk
1/2 cup of brewed then cooled peppermint tea (fairly strong)
1 cup of ice cubes
Handful of fresh spinach leaves (do not let anybody see you do this.. it will make the drink green but not interrupt the flavor, adds nutrition)
You may need some raw sugar for this.
Whirl away until smooth …pour into glasses
You can also make some diluted herbal teas and add ice to them. Lemon balm with lemon slices or peppermint makes a refreshing drink. There are also teas called tisanes of which the main ingredient is a variety of dried fruit. They make great cold drinks great smoothies and flavored ice cubes!
These beverages are a good way to offer nutrition and keep the children — and the big kids — drinking!
More drink ideas
- Delicious and healthy summer drinks for kids
- Kids and caffeinated energy drinks don’t mix
- Watermelon Pops Recipe