Healthy Drinks For Kids
When choosing a healthy drink for kids, it’s important to find the balance between something that’s low in sugar, calories and sweetener, but that’s also a tasty treat for them to enjoy. Water is great for every day and of course, should be drunk frequently, but which drinks can we give to kids when they deserve something a little more special?
In this guide, we’ll help you understand which drinks are suitable for children, plus we’ll share some delicious healthy drink recipes that they can enjoy at parties and on special occasions.
What are the healthiest drinks for kids?
The healthiest drink for children is water and semi-skimmed milk, as they’re both free from any added sugar. Water is important for hydration, while milk contains essential vitamins that are important for growing kids. Like adults, children should aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day, but more if the weather is hot or they’ve exercised.
There are also many other healthy drink options for kids that feel more exciting than pure water. The trick is to look for kids drinks that are free from sugar and sweetener, such as:
Naturally flavoured water - Water that’s infused with real fruit like DASH means that there’s no sugar, calories or sweetener, making it perfect for kids
Unsweetened squash - Cordial is a great way to spruce up a glass of water, but be sure to choose a bottle with no added sugar
Fruit juice - One glass of fruit juice can count towards kids’ five-a-day, but make sure they’re limited to one as fruit juice can contain free sugars
Coconut water - Plain, unsweetened coconut water is naturally sweet and is packed with nutrients
Flavoured sparkling water - Sparkling water is a great replacement for fizzy drinks, so long as it has no sugar like DASH.
What should you look for when choosing a drink for kids?
When choosing a healthy drink for your little one, it’s best to steer clear of drinks that are high in sugar, sweetener and calories. Caffeine is also not recommended for children, so try to avoid colas, energy drinks and tea.
Instead, try to look for drinks that are water-based, as these will hydrate your child. It’s also great to look out for any extra nutritional benefits too, such as calcium or vitamin D and C. When opting for fruit juice or smoothies, it’s important to remember that when juiced, fruit’s sugars become ‘free’, detaching from its fibre, and therefore aren’t as nutritious as whole fruit. So try to limit these drinks to one glass per day.
Can kids have sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners, such as those found in diet fizzy drinks, are not recommended for kids. New guidance from the World Health Organisation shows that non-sugar sweeteners can have negative long-term health effects, as they’re linked to an increased BMI. What’s more, kids’ tastes are still developing, so even just a sweet taste can develop a sugar craving in the long run.
Though an occasional fizzy drink won’t cause harm to your little one when consumed within the acceptable daily intake, it’s best to look out for drinks that are made with all natural ingredients. There are many restrictions when it comes to additives in kids’ diets. Sweeteners aren’t allowed to be used in food and drinks that are made for young children (British Dietetic Association), while some artificial food colours have been linked to hyperactivity and so some products come with a warning (NHS). Where possible, try to check the ingredients list of the drinks you choose for your children.
You can take a look at our guide on artificial sweeteners to learn more.
Kids’ Party Drinks
Kids’ parties don’t have to mean sugar overload and there are still many delicious, healthier drinks that they’ll love. Serving cans of flavoured sparkling water are a good option because they’ll still get the special treat of a fizzy drink, without the sugar or preservatives of soft drinks.
Another exciting drink option for a kids' party is to make mocktails. Your little ones will love having their own special drink to share with their friends! One of the most popular kid's party drinks is a Shirley Temple and here at DASH, we have a trick to make one even healthier.
Healthier Shirley Temple Recipe
You will need:
- Can of DASH Lemon Sparkling Water
- Dash of pomegranate juice
- Pitted cherry to garnish (or a fruit of your choice)
- Handful of ice
1. Over a glass of ice (or plastic cup for the party), pour your DASH Lemon Sparkling Water two thirds of the way up
2. Top the final third with pomegranate juice and stir
3. Garnish with a pitted cherry
A Shirley Temple is such a popular kid's party drink for a reason - it’s easy to make and is always a hit. Traditionally, the mocktail is made with grenadine, which is essentially a pomegranate sugar syrup. We replace that with pomegranate for a similar sweetness, but less sugar content.
Summer Drinks For Kids
Drinking extra water during the hot weather is so important for little ones, so try to keep a water bottle filled up for your child to continuously sip throughout the day.
If you’re looking for a fun summer kid's drink, why not make a homemade healthy slush? Not only will it be a great way to cool down, but it’ll also be really fun to make during the school holidays! All you need is fresh fruit and some flavoured sparkling water.
Berry Fizzy Slush Recipe
You will need:
- A handful of frozen strawberries (or your child’s favourite fruit)
- Can of DASH Blackcurrant Sparkling Water
- A few cubes of ice
1. Pop the frozen fruit and ice into a blender and blend until slushy
2. Add the slush to a glass, pour in DASH Blackcurrant Sparkling Water and stir until blended
With just frozen fruit and sparkling water, homemade slushes are so easy to make healthy, plus your child will love the novelty of having slush at home.
Kids’ Halloween Drinks
When it comes to kids' Halloween drinks, there’s nothing better than serving a big bowl of punch. Not only does it make a great centrepiece, but it also makes your life easier as you just need to make one big batch.
The best way to make kids’ punch Halloween-themed is to make it a very bright, spooky colour. And a spooky colour that’s easy to make healthy? Bright orange!
Witch’s Pumpkin Punch Recipe (Without Actually Using Pumpkin)
You will need:
- One 200ml carton of orange juice
- 100ml of carrot juice
- Five cans of DASH Peach Sparkling Water
1. Fill a big punch bowl with ice
2. Pour all of your ingredients and stir
3. Garnish with fruit of your choice (gummy worms are also a great option for a spooky touch)
Kids’ Christmas Drinks
With grown-ups often enjoying a few glasses of fizz on Christmas day, it’s no surprise that kids would want to join in with a fun drink of their own. Luckily, we’ve got just the thing!
Kids’ Buck’s Fizz is so easy to make and is very fitting with the festivities. With just orange juice and flavoured sparkling water, it’s also healthy, so your little ones can enjoy a few throughout the day.
Kids’ Buck’s Fizz
You will need:
- Orange juice
1. Just like you would a normal Buck’s Fizz, fill a glass half full of orange juice
2. Instead of topping with Champagne, top with DASH Peach Sparkling Water
This Buck’s Fizz mocktail is also perfect for guests who don’t drink alcohol too.
There are many healthy drinks for kids that can feel like a special treat, without involving stacks of sugar and calories. For an easy healthy drink they can grab, try DASH’s canned sparkling water. No calories, sugar or sweetener, DASH is just carbonated spring water that’s infused with real fruit, making it perfect for children.