Lightening Up the Liquids

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We all need water to live. Over half the weight of an adult is water, and children have even more water. Unfortunately, many of us get our fluid from high calorie beverages like soda, juice, whole-fat milk, and dessert-like beverages instead of better choices like pure water, low calorie beverages, or fat-free milk.

With all the sugar and fat in many beverages, it is easy to consume more calories than appropriate. For example, a glass of lemonade from powder can have over 100 calories in only one cup.

Talk with your child about which beverages he/she drinks. Then, discuss how many calories are in a serving. You can do this by reading the nutrition facts on the beverage or going onto the internet and searching for the beverage there (see “For More Information”).

Instead of... Try
Whole milk
2% Milk
Foods made with these kinds of milk
Skim milk ("fat-free")
Foods made with skim milk
Juice cocktails
Juice drinks
Crystal Lite
Water with lemon
Milkshake made with ice cream Fruit smoothie made with skim milk & fat-free yogurt
Hot Chocolate No sugar added hot chocolate mix
Homemade hot chocolate made with hot chocolate and sugar substitute
Regular Soda Diet Soda (caffeine free), Seltzer Water, Club Soda
Iced Tea Diet iced tea, Unsweetened iced tea

Kids need 3 cups of low-fat or fat free dairy everyday


If your child hates skim milk and can’t imagine not drinking juice, be creative! If your child drinks whole milk, change to 2%, then 1%, and then skim. If he/she likes juice, try diluting it until finally switching to water.


There is a lot of confusion about juice. Is it good? Bad? Should your child drink it?

The bottom line with juice is that it has a lot of calories and not a lot of nutrients. A half cup of juice has the same amount of calories as a whole piece of fruit, but the fruit will fill up your child much more, which is good.

There are also different kinds of juice. 100% juice is the best since it has no sugar added. Juice cocktails and juice drinks have very little real fruit juice in them, but have a lot of added sugar.

So, it comes down to making better choices. If water is available, that’s the best since it has no calories.

Lightening Up the Liquids