We know it can be tempting during this time of year to order, pack, and bring along sugary drinks to school, practice, and parties (think: sports drinks, fruit-flavored beverages, sweet tea, full calorie soft drinks).
But, did you know that sugary drinks are the #1 source of added sugars in our diets? That’s right. Most Americans consumer nearly 20 teaspoons of added sugar each day – triple the recommended daily limit for women and double for men.
The good news? You and your family can stay hydrated without sugary drinks. As the summer ends and the school year begins, we wanted to highlight ways to stay healthy and hydrated.
Check out these five tips to quench your thirst and tantalize your taste buds:
Start cutting back. You can take steps to reduce or replace added sugars:
- Replace some of your drinks with water
- Add plain or sparkling water to drinks to keep some of the flavor with fewer added sugars
Choose water. Make water easily available and appealing to drink:
- Carry a refillable water bottle
- Add fruit slices, frozen berries, or even cucumbers for a boost of flavor and a splash of color
Make it at home. Family favorites like smoothie, fruit juice, and iced tea can be made at home with fewer added sugars:
- Start with unsweetened beverages and flavor to taste with your favorite fruit or sprigs of mint or basil
- Infuse water with unique and satisfying combinations
Read the label and choose wisely.
- Some drinks that appear to be healthy may be high in calories and added sugars. Check servings per container.
- Check the ingredients list. Added sugars go by many names: sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, agave nectar, and honey.
Don’t forget about sodium. Even when a food or drink doesn’t taste salty, it can contain sodium.
- A 20-ounce sports drink can contain more than 200 milligrams of sodium and more than 30 grams of sugar. And, some 16-ounce energy drinks can contain as much caffeine as two cups of coffee. While these ingredients are designed to quickly replenish nutrient stores of athletes who have undergone intense exercise, the typical American can maintain optimal levels of these nutrients through a healthy eating pattern and choosing water to drink.
TAKE ACTION: Share your story about what a healthy (and hydrated) back-to-school season means to you.
How will you stay healthy and hydrated?