It never ceases to alarm me how parents calmly pour sugar laden fizzy drinks down their children. The knock on consequences to their (and your) health both short and long term are worrying to say the least, not to mention the reaction to the massive caffeine and sugar hit. It has been said that Coke is comparable to heroin in how it stimulates the brains reward and pleasure centres. If that’s not a reason to wean them off it, I don’t know what is.
The options in restaurants have until recently been mostly made up of the usual Coke and friends although some designer cordials and pressés are becoming more widely available. Let’s face it, the best of us can get bored with drinking the same thing all the time, however healthy water and milk can be, so it’s no surprise that kids gravitate towards the more excitingly marketed fizzy pop.
Time for a rethink. In a bid to give my family a wider choice in the drinks department whilst sneaking in vitamins and nutrients, I’ve resorted to trying some different fruit juices and mixing them up to provide a more exciting, tasty offer to tempt them in. A few suggestions below. Buy the best quality you can afford, with no added sugars and avoid anything labelled as, for example, Pomegranate juice drink as it’s unlikely to have much in the way of the fruit, simply flavouring and concentrate. Most of these you can find in the juice aisle of supermarkets and health food stores. Do remember that only one glass of juice can be included in your 5-a-day allowance.
Cherry – loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers, vitamins and nutrients. This is one of my top choices for treating my son’s autoimmune condition and a power packed liquid if any of you suffer with arthritis or asthma. Mix with fizzy water and another juice such as raspberry if they find the taste too “tart”.
Carrot – high fibre, immunity strengthening, sweet and an excellent source of Vitamin A – it’s not an old wives tale that carrots aid vision. Often found mixed with orange, often the children don’t even notice it’s in there.
Pomegranate – Another anti-inflammatory superstar, pomegranates have excellent antioxidant and cancer fighting properties, lowers cholesterol, anti bacterial and anti-fungal. Ka Pow!
Coconut Water – this is very trendy at the moment so I would be careful not to get too impressed by sexy packaging and big promises. However, coconut juice is great for hydration, always a problem for child athletes, low calorie and has a few vitamins and minerals that add well to any mix you come up with.
Pear – often mixed with apple, this sweet and fibrous fruit contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C & E as well as being rich in copper, phosphorus and potassium.
Pineapple – sweet, anti-inflammatory, rich in beta-carotene & Vitamin C, pineapples can be added to smoothies, pizzas, curries and are thought to aid digestion, reducing bloating and constipation.
Have a play with what juices you find out and about. Let me know what combinations work for your kids. Try them poured over crushed ice for a refreshing summer hydration stop for all the family.
I hear, ahem, that they could also work with a shot of vodka to make a thirst quenching fruit martini or with tequila and crushed ice to brighten up a Saturday evening margarita. Worth thinking about as it’s justifiable as one of your 5 a day! Enjoy.