Summer is here and hopefully your children are involved in a plethora of physical activities from organized sports, to swimming lessons, or just playing around the neighborhood with friends. These activities are all great ways to keep you children active over the summer and ensure that they are getting the exercise they need. With that being said, an important aspect of physical activity is making sure your children are properly hydrated and well nourished. Like adults, children’s bodies are significantly water based, as humans our bodies are anywhere from 50% to 75% water, making water a huge component as to how our bodies function. A hydrated and a well nourished child should always be a parent’s major concern; however, it should become more of a concern if you have an active child.
According to Healthy kids. nsw.gov, “children 5-8 years of age should be drinking 5 glasses of water per day, children 9-12 years of age should be drinking 7 glasses per day and children 13 years or older should be drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.” These daily amounts should be adjusted when your child is engaged in physical activity, as they should be drinking more water than recommended for their specific age range. While engaged in physical activities, children’s bodies lose a lot of water through what is known as sweat, which is a self cooling mechanism that the body initiates to keep the body from overheating. When the body sweats, we lose important minerals that our bodies need to function like electrolytes; by encouraging your child to drink more water while they are active they are aiding the body in replacing these important components that your body looses while sweating. Children may ask for sports drinks, fruit drinks and soda-pop when they are finished playing, but these drinks are no substitute for the many benefits that water offers. Also many of these drinks have a high amount of added sugar, which is unhealthy and should be avoided.
Another great source we came across and highly recommend for you to check out is https://www.healthambition.com/how-much-water-do-you-need-daily/. One of the most intriguing diagrams we discovered on this link was the 21 ways to eat your water.
Drinking water can also help prevent dehydration, a condition that should be taken very serious as in some cases it can lead to death. Dehydration is a common occurrence among children especially in the summer time when temperatures can soar to some pretty amazing heights, causing our bodies to sweat more. Dehydration occurs when the body looses fluids through sweat (or some other means) and this fluid is not replaced. Whether your child is highly active or not, as adults you should be making the proper food choices to get your children through the day, which may include several physical activities. According to Caring for kids, an informational website from some leading pediatricians, “children need 3 meals a day and 1 to 3 snacks (morning, afternoon and possibly before bed) Healthy snacks are just as important as the food you serve at meals.” They go on to say “children need a balanced diet with food from all four food groups-vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk, and meat.” However, the most important part, I feel that is pointed out by these pediatricians is that; “the best foods are whole, fresh and unprocessed-fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and meats; and home-cooked meals.”
And lastly, try to limit your children’s sugar and caffeine intake. (For a great source on negative effects of caffeine, check out https://bigbluetest.org/negative-effects-of-caffeine/ ) Though these substances may give them a much needed boost for the big game, once these substances wear off they are in for a major energy crash, leaving them feeling worse and more lethargic then when they began. Commercials for the multitude of energy drinks that are out on the market today may make it enticing for children to drink them, however, these purchases should be avoided, as these drinks are loaded heavily with caffeine, children and teens should “keep their caffeine consumption to less than 100 milligrams per day” according to Shreen Lehma, MS and author of the online article “Energy Drinks and Kids-Good or Bad?” Children should also be getting the correct amounts of sleep every night. I know it’s the summer and most parents take this time to give their children more freedom, which includes staying up later. However, sleep is fundamental to functioning properly and staying focused during the day and getting through any physical activity your child has planned. Following these three fundamental principles; drinking enough water, eating healthy and getting the proper amounts of sleep will ensure that your child will be ready to conquer the day, score the winning goal or hit their next home-run out of the park!
Find out more about drinking water and nutrition from the websites that were mentioned in this week’s blog: http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/healthy_eating_for_children
Side note from Matt Bible:
We recently were approached about an excellent article that you and your kids can really benefit from. It is a recently released expanded guide about making vegetable smoothies that kids love. As you may know, it can be difficult to get kids to eat their veggies. This article shows you techniques on how to sneak vegetables into your kids’ smoothies and it provides some recipes they will enjoy! If these techniques and recipes are done properly, then your kids will get the veggies they need to stay healthy and they will not even taste them. Take a look at the following article: https://easyhealthysmoothie.com/kids-healthy-smoothies/
The Strawberry Dream Smoothie in particular is one I am going to try with my niece the next time I see her. If for some reason, she does not drink it all (as she is very picky with food), her Uncle Matt will gladly finish it for her. Let us know what you think once you try some of these recipes for your kids!