Delicious Drinks for Kids

by Lucinda Jenkins, LPNHC

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Children run and play hard in 70-degree weather just as easily as 90-degree weather so it's real important to keep them well hydrated. Under hydrated children suffer from urinary tract infections, decreased resistance to disease, crabbiness and listlessness. Under hydration can quickly turn to dehydration, which is acutely serious.

There are many nutritious alternatives to Kool-Aid, Dr. Pepper and other fruit flavored squeeze box drinks. There are two and half tablespoons of sugar in 8 ounces of soda. Visualize that! Sugar consumption can also contribute to dehydration. The trick is to offer something good that they will drink that doesn't contain a lot of sugar.

Try Rooibos tea, a drink from South Africa that has been used for centuries to treat babies with colic. Rooibos tastes just like our regular ice tea with a vanilla aftertaste. Many add a dried vanilla bean to the rooibos tea canister for the added taste of vanilla. This wonderful tea has no caffeine and is full of trace minerals that the body needs to maintain a proper electrolyte balance during the hot summer months.

The cousin of Rooibos is the Honeybush tea, which is naturally sweet and also provides a ton of trace minerals. These teas add to the growing bone structure instead of destroying it like the sodas do. They taste great with orange slices or strawberry slices floating in the tea.

Try making your own root beer with this mixture of herbs:

Real Root Beer

  • 2 tsp. sarsaparilla root
  • 1 tsp. licorice root
  • 1 tsp. wintergreen leaves
  • 1 tsp. stevia leaves (for sweetness- optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon bark
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart carbonated water

Simmer herbs in the water in 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover the pan and let cool. Strain out herbs, add carbonated water and serve.

Purple Pineapple Drink

  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup of blueberries or any other berries in season 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons Flaxseed oil (provides Essential Fatty Acids which are greatly missing from the American diet)
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ

Using a blender, whirl the soy milk, pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, blueberries, banana, wheat germ, and oil until smooth. Pour into a glass

Chocolate Monkey!

  • 1 cup of chocolate soy milk
  • 1 banana peeled
  • 1/2 cup of ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Whirl away until smooth! Pour into glasses

Sneaky Peppermint!

  • 1 cup of soy milk
  • 1/2 cup of brewed then cooled peppermint tea (fairly strong)
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • handful of fresh spinach leaves (do not let anybody see you do this.. it will make the drink green but not interrupt the flavor, adds nutrition)
  • You may need some raw sugar for this

Whirl away until smooth ...pour into glasses

You can also make some diluted herbal teas and add ice to them. Lemon balm with lemon slices or peppermint makes a refreshing drink.

There are also teas called tisanes of which the main ingredient is a variety of dried fruit. They make great cold drinks great smoothies and flavored ice cubes!

These drinks are a good way to offer nutrition and keep the children and the big kids drinking too!

Lucinda Jenkins is the owner of Glenbrook Farms Herbs and such, the online source for bulk herbs, spices and the gourmet teas

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