Drinking enough water every day is an essential part of human health, making water the best drink choice for everyone — including growing girls. Even though it can sometimes be more tempting to reach for a sugary or caffeinated drink, when you choose water instead, your body will thank you every time.
Essentially, the human body needs water to function. Water cushions joints, aids blood circulation, flushes toxins from the body and prevents constipation. Drinking water strengthens the immune system and helps to ward off illness. Additionally, proper hydration is good for the mind, improving focus and concentration.
For these reasons, drinking water is an essential part of being active! Increasing your water intake is especially important while exercising when your body quickly loses water through sweat. To stay hydrated during physical activity, a child needs to drink anywhere from 4-16 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes depending on their age and size. Even mild dehydration can impact physical performance, energy levels and brain function. A good rule of thumb? Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Drink water before, during and after exercising.
Additionally, choosing water over sugary drinks is an important habit to develop in childhood. Sports drinks, sodas, lemonade and flavored milk add “empty” calories to your diet and leave you less hungry for nutritious food and less thirsty for water. Pediatricians recommend that even 100% juice should be limited for children, as it is high in sugar and low in fiber found in whole fruit. While sugar-sweetened beverages taste good, there are health risks associated with drinking them on a daily basis. More water and fewer sugary drinks can help reduce the risk for diet-related illness such as childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. That is another reason why drinking water when you are thirsty is the healthiest choice!
When you drink water, you are taking care of your full self. Let’s support one another to choose water to fuel our bodies, minds and an active community! Here are some tips on how to make water the go-to beverage in your family:
Infuse it with fruit – Putting fruit like berries, lemon, orange, pineapple and watermelon in water is a delicious, colorful way to make H2O more appealing! You can even experiment with recipes that add herbs such as mint and basil. Try adding True Citrus drink mixes to your water for an all-natural, low-sugar flavor boost!
A special water bottle – Carry a reusable water bottle that is special for you wherever you go — even around the house. Whether it’s a water bottle from a program you love or something in your favorite color with stickers, a personal bottle can go a long way to remind you to drink H2O.
Dress up your ice cubes – You can freeze pieces of fruit along with water in your ice cube trays. Add these fancy ice cubes to your water glass!
Serve water at every meal – Make drinking water with food a habit. In most instances, tap water is a safe choice in the United States, but if you have questions about the quality of your tap water or water filtration, this resource is a good overview.
Eat food with high water content – In addition to drinking water, fruit and vegetables with high water content can also help with hydration. Suggestions for vegetables include cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini and celery. For fruit, choose watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, strawberries, oranges and blueberries.
Be a positive role model – We learn through the powerful examples of our family members, coaches and friends. “Do as I say, and not as I do” does not cut it when it comes to developing eating and drinking habits. Be a role model for your loved ones and drink at least eight cups of water each day!
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