Thoughtful Parenting: Cutting back on sugary drinks

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At a glance

Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0:

■ 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables

■ 2 or fewer hours of recreational screen time

■ 1 or more hours of physical activity

■ 0 sugary drinks

Source: LiveWell Northwest Colorado

In this series, we’ve introduced the Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 framework and helpful tips for creating a healthier home environment. This month, we’ll focus on 0, the final component: limiting sugary drinks by drinking more water and low-fat milk.

Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption has increased dramatically throughout the past 20 years. High intake among children is associated with obesity, displacement of milk consumption and dental cavities. It is recommended that children ages 1 to 6 consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day and that children ages 7 to 18 consume no more than 8 to 12 ounces. Whole milk is the single largest source of saturated fat in children’s diets. Switching to low- or nonfat milk products significantly reduces dietary saturated and total fat as well as total calories.

Cut the habit. How can you reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages your family consumes?

Always keep water handy and cold:

■ Keep a water bottle on hand for everyone in the family

■ Add fresh lemon, lime or orange wedges to water for some natural flavor

■ Drink water when you’re thirsty. It’s the best choice.

■ Cut back slowly on sugar-sweetened beverages

■ Replace soda with water instead of other sugar-sweetened beverages such as juice or sports drinks.

Be choosy when it comes to juice and milk:

■ Juice products labeled “-ade,” “drink” or “punch” often contain 5 percent juice or less. Always buy 100 percent juice.

■ Always try to choose whole fruits instead of juice.

■ Daily juice intake should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces for kids ages 1 to 6; 8 to 12 ounces for kids ages 7 to 18; and no juice for children 6 months and younger.

■ Encourage fat-free or low-fat milk. They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk but fewer calories and less saturated fat.

For more information about Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0, visit www.letsgo.org or email Barb Parnell, LiveWell Northwest Colorado community coordinator, at bparnell@nwcovna.org.

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