By: Karen Cicero
When I was 9, my daughter’s age, I remember coming home from school, popping open a Pepsi can and starting my homework. I’d also have soda at dinner, and by the time I got to high school, I was drinking it at lunch too. Times may have changed, but our children’s soda habits have only gotten worse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that consumption of sugar-filled drinks (like soda) has increased over the last 30 years, and that preteens and teens get more than 200 calories per day from the sweet stuff. “These extra calories contribute to childhood obesity and displace healthy beverages like milk, which contains the calcium and vitamin D that this age group vitally needs,” says Melinda Johnson, dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Chances are you didn’t need Johnson to tell you that soda is bad for kids’ health -- and that with all that acid and sugar, it’s also pretty stinky for teeth too. But what really seems daunting is how to get your kid to cut back … or not have it become the default drink in the first place.
How to Break Your Child’s Soda Habit
My daughter got her first taste of soda at a birthday party when she was 4. The lovely staff at Chuck E. Cheese’s poured all the kids huge glasses of Sprite. Kate happily drank it all, claiming it was “the best water ever,” and then asked if we could get some for home. Thus, my battle over soda began -- a lot earlier than I hoped it would. But here are the tactics I learned over the last five years (much of which seems to be backed up by a new Belgium study published in the journal Appetite):
Here’s a useful video to help you choose your own healthy family beverage:
Healthy Drinks: What Is Best for
Also read: How to prevent tooth cavities, from my sponsor
is Completely You’s Need to Know blogger. A health journalist and magazine editor with more than 15 years of experience, she has contributed to such publications as Prevention, SELF and Health, and she has edited the dental column for Heart & Soul magazine.
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