Yes milk and water, no to sugary drinks, nì to fruit juices hundred percent. New indications come from the United States on what should (and should not) drink children from zero to five years, drawn up by a group of experts based on scientific evidence.
The Healthy Drinks, Healthy Kids project, developed by the Healthy Eating Research of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is based on scientific research and the opinion of associations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Paediatric Dentists, the American Academy of Paediatrics and the American Heart Association.
What should, therefore, end up in the bottle or in the glass of the little ones, according to the indications? From 0 to 6 months the answer is simple: only maternal milk and artificial milk are allowed. Everything else in the liquid diet of newborns is banned.
In the following age group, from 6 to 12 months, breast milk and artificial milk remain the fixed points of the diet. When you start to put solid foods in the baby’s diet, you can also introduce water: just take a few sips, during meals. Thus the child begins to get used to its taste and to drink from cups, glasses or similar.
From 12 to 24 months, water is the main protagonist of the diet: the experts’ advice is to let children drink one to four glasses a day. Even the milk is welcome, whole and pasteurised (without the addition of chocolate or other): two or three cups a day are the recommended amount. The best choice is cow’s milk, because the vegetable substitutes (of rice, soy, oats …) may not provide the necessary nutrients. If it is really necessary to replace cow’s milk due to problems of intolerance and ethical choices, soy milk should be preferred.
And the fruit juices? Experts slow down: only those made with one hundred percent fruit without added sugar, half a cup a day are allowed. Too little? Just stretch the juice with water. In any case, the best choice would be to avoid the juices and focus on the fruit itself, to avoid cavities and weight-related problems.
The same indications regarding fruit juices are also valid for two to three years . Ditto for the glasses of water (from one to four), while it is recommended to pass milk skimmed or partially skimmed pasteurised, which has less fat. In this case there are two recommended daily cups.
From four to five years the daily doses increase a little: they are recommended by a glass and a half of water for five and two and a half cups of skimmed or partially skimmed pasteurised milk. Permit, if necessary, from half a glass to three quarters of a glass of 100% natural juice.
And the sugary drinks? The soda? The chocolate milk? Light drinks? Those with caffeine? The opinion of Healthy Drinks, Healthy Kids is clear: at least five years old should not end up in children’s glasses.