Eating out used to be a special treat for families. But with our increasingly busy lifestyles more families need to grab a quick meal than ever before. Restaurant kid’s meals now represent a larger percentage of a child’s calories on a weekly basis, and more often than not the default beverage that is sold as part of these meals is a sugary drink.
We can help parents on-the-go make healthier choices for their children by removing sugary drinks from restaurant menus for kid’s meals. The American Heart Association will be working to pass a policy this year to do just that.
A public opinion poll in NH this past April showed that 90% of those surveyed think children’s consumption of sugary drinks is a problem. Of special concern are the long-term health consequences for children, such as the development of diabetes and heart disease.
Here are some tips on how to switch to healthier drinks that can quench your thirst and still taste good! Parents can make the switch too.
- Read those ingredients – Beverages, like energy drinks, can be deceiving because they advertise that they are healthy but usually are loaded with calories and sugar. Common forms of added sugars are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, concentrated fruit juice and honey. Also, look at the label carefully because one container may be considered more than one serving, which can double or triple your sugar consumption.
- Cut back slowly – If you have sugary drinks like sodas and sweetened teas on a regular basis, start cutting back now. Replace those drinks with the water suggestions next.
- Work up to water – We often hear we should drink water every day, but that can seem like a challenge if you aren’t a big fan. Here’s how to crave more water:
- Carry a refillable water bottle.
- Add slices of oranges, lemons or even cucumbers for an added boost of flavor.
- Try seltzers or sparking water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.
More information will be shared as we head into NH’s Legislative Session starting in January, about how You’re The Cure Advocates can make their voice heard on this issue. To sign up, visit http://www.yourethecure.org.