A health drink is a great way to give your child a nutritional advantage. These drinks are formulated keeping in mind your child's requirements according to age and activity level. They are also a single source of multiple nutrients to ensure that any gaps in the regular diet are filled up easily.
However, given the number of products that are out there, it is hard to find the best health drink in India to suit your child. There are some common mistakes that parents make when picking a beverage for their little one. Avoiding these mistakes is the first step to choosing the best option for your child.
Mistakes Parents Make With Children’s Health Drinks
We live in an age where we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and information about children’s nutrition. Health drinks, in particular, is a competitive market as many parents view them as an option to encourage children to consume milk. With so many varieties and brands making claims about the benefits of the product, it is easy to make these common mistakes:
- Going by the packaging alone: Glossy, attractive packaging is a must for brands to stand out among their competitors. You will also see words like ‘fortified,’ on the packaging which makes the product seem like the right choice. However, the truth about the product lies in the nutritional label and ingredients list which is on the back. Most parents do not understand how to read these labels. There are two simple rules to follow. First, the fewer the number of ingredients, the better the product. Second, the nutrients placed higher on the labels have a higher constitution in the formula.
- Ignoring the position of sugar: As mentioned above, the higher the position of an ingredient, the higher the portion. If sugar is among the top ingredients on the nutritional label, it is an indication that the drink is rich in sugar. These drinks are not healthy for long-term use as they can cause health issues. You must look for a drink with sugar in the middle or at the end of the list of ingredients in the product.
- Not recognising the forms of sugar: It is not just about added sugar or total sugar in the product. There are about 63 different names for sugar that are used in the list of ingredients. Some names like corn solids or sucrose can be misleading. Make sure that you check for these hidden forms of sugar before choosing a drink for your child.
- Choosing drinks based on popularity: Most often, parents go by recommendations from friends and family. Or, the advertisements that they see on television and social media. If you are choosing a health drink for your child for the first time, it is best to check with your doctor before picking a drink that is popular.
- Not paying attention to the base of the drink: Health drinks have a malt or milk base. Malt-based drinks are made with whole grains commonly while milk-based drinks may contain whey. It is important to pay attention to the base of the drink to prevent any digestive issues in the child. If your little one has a gluten intolerance, then a milk-based drink is the best choice. On the other hand, if your child is lactose intolerant, then using a malt-based drink is the best way to go.
- Not choosing health drinks based on the child’s age: You cannot use the same drink across age groups because the nutritional requirements vary drastically. When it comes to nutrition, we normally pay attention to the underconsumption of nutrients.
However, consuming too much of a particular nutrient can be just as detrimental to health. Every nutrient has a daily recommended value. This is the amount that is allowed for consumption per day for optimum benefits. If you go over the RDA or recommended daily allowance, issues like toxicity may occur. This is particularly true with micronutrients, namely vitamins and minerals. So, always make sure that you check the age group that the drink is suitable for. Then, you can be assured that the formula is based on the RDA for that age group.
How To Avoid These Mistakes
There are some easy ways to avoid these mistakes that you make with health drinks:
- Always check the nutritional label thoroughly. If you spot too many ingredients, remember that the formula might be too complex for your little one. The simpler the label, the better the product.
- Learn more about children’s nutrition. You should be aware of the major nutrients and their approximate daily recommended value. This helps you make better choices.
- If you are unsure about the best drink for your child, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor. They can help you pick the best drink based on the child’s requirements as well as any health issues.
- Learn more about a product before making the choice. Today, we have the advantage of comparative reviews, user reviews and information about various products. So, studying about products is easier and is also very useful in choosing the right drink.
Health drinks, when chosen properly with attention to the ingredients of energy drinks, can be a very good supplement to your child’s diet. If there are any restrictions with respect to the child’s diet, these drinks can help make up for any nutritional gap. They are also extremely convenient to use since you only have to mix them with milk or a preferred beverage. So, they fit into the busy schedules of children and parents quite easily.
However, even though some products may seem like a good alternative to a full meal, health drinks must never be used in that manner. Make sure that it is only added to a diet that is rich in fresh and natural sources of nutrients. That is when you will be able to see the positive effects of healthy drinks. They boost your child’s energy levels, activity level and also help improve immunity.