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Depending on the age group, the experts recommend different drinks. Some advice may surprise many parents. Because it is well known that sweetened lemonades are bad for children’s health. But doctors also advise against fruit juices and supposedly healthy cow’s milk alternatives such as almond or oat milk.
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While parents worry a lot about healthy eating, drinks play a more subordinate role, according to the scientists.
The decision was what to give their children to drink, "as important as choosing healthy food", says nutritionist Terri J. Raymond, who participated in the study "Healthy beverage consumption in early childhood" was involved. Above all, that applies to the whole Boy children.
Health impact well into the future
"From birth and in the following first years of life, drinks are an important source of calories and nutrients that can have an impact on children’s health well into the future", says Richard Besser, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that supported the study.
The doctors recommend these drinks at the age of:
0 to 6 months
In order to be adequately supplied with fluids and nutrients, babies only need breast milk or baby food.
6 to 12 months
In addition to breast milk or baby food, parents should give their babies some water with the first solid food to get them used to the taste. A few sips per meal are sufficient.
Children who are younger than 1 year should best not drink fruit juice at all, according to the experts. Even 100 percent fruit juice doesn’t offer more nutrients than the fruit itself.
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12 to 24 months
At this age, children can start giving whole milk. You should also drink a few small glasses of water, between 230 and 950 milliliters a day. A small amount of fruit juice is ok, according to the experts, but not more than 120 ml. In addition, parents should make sure that it is 100 percent fruit juice without added sugar.
Even better, because a few pieces of fresh fruit are healthier.
2 to 5 years
optimally, should children at this age only consume these two drinks: milk and water. When it comes to milk, the experts also recommend low-fat milk. If the children are given fruit juice, then only a small amount and only those with 100% fruit content.
Fruit juices only in moderation
Fruit juice is one of the drinks that, according to the experts, children should only drink in moderation. If any. Because the juice is actually unnecessary – when the little ones eat fresh fruit.
And if so, the doctors advise 100 percent fruit juice without added sugar or artificial additives. So the problem with fruit juice is that "empty calories". Which means: Low nutritional value with a comparatively high number of calories.
The experts advise against these drinks
Vegetable milk like Almond, rice or oat milk has become hugely popular in recent years. But their nutritional value is lower than that of cow’s milk, the experts write in their study and advise against giving it to children to drink.
A glass of cow’s milk contains around 8 grams of protein, while milk from plants is low in protein. The only exception: soy milk.
Almost every vegetable milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin D, sometimes contain larger amounts than cow’s milk. But there is no evidence that the body absorbs these added nutrients as efficiently as the natural nutrients in cow’s milk.
In addition, sugar or artificial flavors are usually added to these products. From the medical point of view, all this speaks against giving it to children.
The experts also advise against chocolate milk – or flavored milk in other flavors – as well as special milk for toddlers, caffeinated drinks, sweetened lemonades and diet drinks.
Increasing obesity in children
The recommendations were drawn up by experts from leading American health organizations, including nutritionists, pediatricians, dentists and heart specialists.
The recommendations titled "Healthy drinks, healthy children" ("Healthy drinks, healthy kids") are also designed to help curb the growing number of overweight children and adolescents, not only in the United States.
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