What Should Children Drink? – June 2012

Walk down any grocery store aisle and you’ll see the beverage options available for young children seem to be endless. From drinks in boxes to pouches to everything that can be poured into a glass or sippy cup, the options can leave a parent overwhelmed.

So, what are the best beverages to be serving your children? According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Without a doubt the best drinks to be serving children of all ages are milk and water.”

Anderson says whenever possible, you should discourage your children from drinking soda and other calorie-dense juices and sugary drinks, because milk or water will quench their thirst just as well with more benefits to their bodies.


Anderson sites that because milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, both of which are important for helping children’s bones grow and keeping bones and teeth healthy, preschoolers should consume at least 2 to 2½ cups of low-fat or nonfat milk every day.

Anderson also suggests that you limit the number of flavored milks you serve your children. This is because pre-mixed manufacture-flavored milk, particularly chocolate and strawberry, contain considerably more sugars, fats, and calories than milk you might flavor yourself at home.

For children with dairy allergies, Anderson suggests calcium-fortified soy milk as a good alternative to cow’s milk.


Approximately 2/3 of the human body is made up of water. Therefore, it is vital for children and adults to be consuming it regularly.

“Water regulates the body’s temperature, transports nutrients and oxygen into cells, helps our organs absorb nutrients better, detoxifies our bodies, and moisturizes the air in our lungs as well as our joints.”

Anderson adds that, to find out how much water your children should be drinking, you can weigh them and then divide this number in half. For example, a 30-pound child should be drinking 15 ounces of water a day.

Not consuming enough water can result in dehydration which can lead to dry skin, headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, irregular blood pressure, kidney problems, and even death.

Juices and Soda

Soda and juice are laden with sugar and empty calories in comparison to water. For example, an eight-ounce glance of water (a natural thirst quencher) contains zero calories and zero grams of sugar. In comparison, an eight-ounce juice drink made with 10 percent juice contains 150 calories and 38 grams of sugar. An eight-ounce soda contains 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar.

“When you look at these statistics, it’s easy to see the healthy choice is the natural choice,” says Anderson. “Water is such a good thing for children. Too much of either juice or soda can contribute to excess weight gain and tooth decay.

“Another thing to consider is that soda often contains caffeine, and too much caffeine can cause all sorts of problems in children including difficulty concentrating or sleeping, headaches, tummy aches, and jitteriness or nervousness.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “What Should Children Drink?” on Wednesday, June 13th, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., at their Southside Milwaukee Center located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. Water is a caffeine-free, zero-calorie thirst quencher and milk has nutrients to help children grow up strong. Limit the empty calorie drinks you serve, and teach your children that water and milk are the best drinks for them. At this Family Fun Night, you learn about the negative effects of drinking soda and other sugary beverages as you explore with boats in the water table, create pet rocks, and make sun visors. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers a variety of free Family Fun Nights and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, in Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.