Keeping Kids Hydrated
Summer is here, so that means children are out of school and on the move! Whether they’re going to camp, the beach, pool or are just hanging around at home, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping them cool and well hydrated.
How much water do kids need?
Children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults, especially in hot and humid conditions. Partly because their bodies are not as efficient in producing sweat to help cool them off, but also because they tend to produce more heat during activity and exercise.1 To prevent dehydration kids should drink with each meal and throughout the day when they feel thirsty, especially during hot weather and physical activity. Signs of dehydration can include fatigue, thirst, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and dark-colored urine. Here are some tips to keep them hydrated all summer long:
Hydrate by the cup:
· Encourage water as their “beverage of choice”. It’s calorie-free and refreshing. Freeze a water bottle to keep it cold for a car ride or short trip. Be prepared by keeping a cooler of ice and water bottles in your car trunk for summertime family outings
· Limit the amount of caffeinated beverages like soft drinks, energy drinks and iced tea. These contain caffeine, which may cause the body to lose water through frequent urination.
· Don’t wait to hear “I’m thirsty” before you offer your children a drink. Show them it is ok to drink water even if they’re not thirsty.
· If your children are not fond of drinking water, another option is to serve 100% fruit juice with water or seltzer (half water or seltzer, half juice). This helps limit the amount of sugar while still keeping them hydrated.
Hydrate at the plate:
· Make popsicles out of pureed fruit and ice. Freeze in molds or ice trays for a fun and refreshing snack.
· Summer is the season for water-rich fruits and vegetables. Try watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots or even snap peas with low-fat dip.
· Have summer fruits that are about to go bad? Cut them into bite size chunks and store in the freezer in small freezer bags. They make a great snack for the outdoors or while you’re on the run.
Refreshing Watermelon Fizz Drink
4 cups seedless watermelon
1 cup seltzer
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
Place watermelon, seltzer and lime juice into a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture into a picture to remove any unblended pulp. Stir in 1 tablespoon of honey and serve in glasses garnished with frozen watermelon balls.
1. Source: The Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. Watch for Dehydration During Football Practice. Viewed online at: http://www.childrensmercy.org/hkc/topic/View.asp?id=263