June 16, 2011

Healthy Alternatives...Drop The Soda, But Not The 'Pop'!

There's nothing more cringe-worthy than watching young children sucking back soda pop.  While at the racetrack last month, I was shocked to see children as young as Big-A (age 6) drinking pop from 500mL bottles late into the night (my issues with young children being kept up past 10pm at a RACETRACK is another story...). 

With summer just around the corner, there will be many more children hydrating with pop.  The sad thing is that many parents allow this, ignoring the concequences that their child will see later in life.  Childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are on the rise, and sugary drinks are the main culprit.

Big-A has had pop (in very small amounts) in the past, and loves it as any other kid does.  He also knows that it is full of sugar, has absolutely no nutritional value, and can make people sick (we use my father's Type 2 Diabetes to explain this further).  Water and milk are a first choice when the boys are thirsty and we allow a cup of juice each day.  But during special occasions like parties or movie night, it's nice to have something different.  Our sugar-free option pairs as well with a steak dinner as it does with a bowl of popcorn...SPARKLING WATER!

I've been drinking sparkling water as an alternative to soda pop for years, and Big-A quickly developed a liking to it as well.  He loves the way the bubbles tickle his nose, and it's a fun drink to have!  I usually buy unflavoured, sodium-free sparkling water, adding a slice of lime for a bit of flavour.  My first choice is PC Lightly Carbonated, Sodium Free Mineral Water.  I also like PC Carbonated Natural Spring Water, which contains only 20 mg sodium per 2-cup serving. 

We drink sparkling with dinner, and never have movie night without it!  Movie night doesn't have to be unhealthy.  Sparkling water paired with air popped popcorn makes a delicious, low calorie treat.

As much as Big-A loves sparkling water, I don't substitute regular drinking water with the bubbly version.  I give it to him as a treat once in a while.  His main drink is still the standard H2O out of the tap.  I go further into the importance of drinking plain water in my previous post H2O Woes.

It is not recommended that you give sparkling water to babies or toddlers, as the carbonation may upset their sensitive tummies.  Some brands also contain added sugar and sodium.  I don't give sparkling water to Lil-J, I'll wait a couple of years before introducing it.

Instead of offering soda pop to your children, try sparkling water.  It's low on sugar, and high on fun!


Lena! said...

As always, a truly amazing post. Love your suggestions and agree with you 100%.

I've been looking into the Soda Stream for this very reason - it turns tap water into carbonated fun - and you can control what you add for flavour (if you wish to do so). I love mixing bubbly water with a shot of grapefruit juice ;)

Shauna MacKenzie said...

Thx :)
We've thought of purchasing the Soda Stream as well - I think Aidan would want to use it daily!
I can't wait to try grapefruit juice w/ sparkling water. Sounds like perfect brunch beverage!

Connie @ Rookie Foodie said...

Great idea! We allow Root Beer once in a while but you are right...full of sugar!

Shauna MacKenzie said...

Thanks Connie! I must admit, it's hard to resist a bottle of Dad's Rootbeer (my absolute favourite!) when we find it at a restaurant!