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2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard Magazine

2018-19 Magazine

2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard. Magazine

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Thirsty? Rethink Your Drink

Scientists have named sweetened beverages one of the issues linked with higher obesity rates, which can increase our risk for chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

“Mom, could I have some _____?”

If your child is thirsty, the blank might be filled in with the name of your child’s favorite pop, sports drink or fruit-flavored beverage. However, what are the long-term health effects of sweetened beverages?

Soft drink consumption has increased five times since the late 1960s. Kids are having sweetened soft drinks at younger ages and the portion sizes of fountain drinks have increased drastically.

Liquid Calories

Watch out for “liquid calories” that provide few, if any, nutrients. Fruit-flavored beverages (punch, lemonade, fruit-flavored drinks), sweet tea, sports drinks and regular (not diet) soda contain added sweeteners and calories without nutrients.

Scientists have named sweetened beverages one of the issues linked with higher obesity rates, which can increase our risk for chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Sweetened beverages can promote dental decay. In fact, while diet soft drinks do not have calories, the acid they contain is tough on teeth.

  • Did you know? One 12-ounce can of cola has about 10 teaspoons of sugar (as high-fructose corn syrup) and 150 calories. Cutting out one can of sweetened soda daily (and not consuming the calories in another way) could result in a 15-pound weight loss in a year.

Consider these tips to help your family make more healthful choices. You might save money in the process, too.

  • Quench your thirst with water. Most kids do not need sports drinks to quench their thirst.
  • Make water, low-fat or fat-free milk or 100 percent juice options in your home. However, encourage family members to eat whole fruit more often than fruit juice for the fiber advantage.
  • Take water on the go in a reusable water bottle. Reusable water bottles are easy on the environment, convenient and cost-effective. Be sure to wash them thoroughly between uses.
  • Save money at restaurants by ordering water when dining out and drinking water from the tap at home.
  • Enjoy an occasional sweetened beverage, but have a smaller portion. Split a can of soda pop or try the smaller cans.
  • Read and compare Nutrition Facts labels to learn more about sugar, fat, calories and nutrients in your favorite beverages.

Try Flavor-infused Water

If plain water is kind of boring, try infusing water with fruit and/or herbs. Be creative and invent some new flavor sensations.

  • Start with clean hands, containers, cutting boards and knives. Rinse fruit and herbs thoroughly.
  • Try one of these flavor add-ins:

▪ Citrus water: ½ cup sliced oranges, lemons or grapefruit + 2 quarts water

▪ Strawberry kiwi water: 3 sliced strawberries + 1 peeled, sliced kiwi + 2 quarts water

▪ Watermelon rosemary water: 2 cups seedless water melon (cut in chunks or balls) + 1 sprig rosemary + 2 quarts water

▪ Raspberry lime water: 20 crushed raspberries + 2 sliced limes (without rind) + 2 quarts water

  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Don’t mix batches. Use up the batch, clean the container and make a new batch.

 

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., F.A.N.D., Professor and Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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