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Do kids really need "sports drinks?"

My kids always ask for “sports drinks” even when they are watching TV. Do they really need them?
Do kids really need "sports drinks?"

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They might be getting the idea they need a sports drink from the commercials on TV. You may need a sports drink if you are exercising hard for more than 60 minutes, or if you are exercising in hot climates or high altitudes.

Provide plenty of cold water to quench your kids’ thirst. If they prefer a little “flavor,” you can add a squirt of lemon or a calorie-free flavoring to encourage them to stay hydrated.

Sports drinks are easy to find in vending machines and at convenience stores, so that can make them tempting. Sports drinks can be quite expensive and many are fairly high in calories, which can contribute to weight gain. The healthiest beverages for your growing kids are low-fat or fat-free milk, water and 100 percent fruit juice.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise August 2012 newsletter (PDF).

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