Do you want to reduce sugary drinks at home, but don't know where to start?
If so, you came to the right place. Learn here how you can begin to make a healthy change for you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I drink?
You have a lot of choices when deciding what to drink. Without a doubt, the best choice is water. Sugary drinks are the worst choice – that's because just 1-2 sugary drinks a day increases your chance of getting type 2 diabetes.
For some, especially those who are used to a sweet taste, water may not be the first choice. Here are tasty ways to make water enjoyable, with little effort.
- Add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
- Add a splash of 100% juice to ice cold water – a little splash goes a long way!
- Purchase water packed in small sizes or colorful packaging to add appeal. This can be especially helpful for younger children.
- Keep it cold – for some, the colder the better. Keep cold water in your fridge at all times.
Healthy Drink Recipes
- Watermelon Delight
Blend 1/2 diced watermelon with 1/2 water, strain pulp, and add a lime slice.
- Citrus Light
Cut up oranges, limes, and cucumbers, place them in a pitcher of water for 2 hours, strain and serve.
- Grape Soda
Mash a handful of sweet grapes into a bowl, pour juice into a glass and fill to top with seltzer water.
- Lite Lemonade
Mix juice from 1 squeezed lemon with 1 cup water, then add a few drops of honey for sweetness.
- Watermelon Lemonade
Puree 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon with juice from 3 lemons and pour over ice.
- Tonic & Juice
Combine 1 bottle seltzer water with 1 container 100% juice concentrate and mix together.
- Fresh Fruit Cooler
Blend ½ cup ice, ¾ cup sugar free sparkling water, 1/3 cup melons or berries until slushy. Garnish with mint leaves or citrus slice.
- Tropical Smoothie
In a blender, puree melon chunks or peach slices with fat free (skim) milk, crushed ice, and a touch of ginger or cinnamon until smooth
- Brew flavored tea bags & pour over ice for unsweetened iced tea.
- Freeze 100% fruit juice in ice cube trays and add one cube to a glass of plain water or seltzer water.
- Choose smaller size 100% juice boxes or bottles & only drink one per day.
- Try a diet or low-calorie beverage instead of regular and enjoy in moderation.
- Try drinking coffee or tea--it’s calorie-free without the cream and sugar.
How do drinks compare?
|Water||At least half of your daily fluid intake should come from water. That's about 5 cups for kids and 10 cups for adults. Water is the only drink your body needs.|
|Skim, 1% milk, or soymilk with calcium.||Drink 2 cups per day - less is fine as long as you get your calcium from another source.|
|100% Juice like orange and apple juice||Drink daily but in small amounts. While 100% juice has many of the same nutrients as fruit, it has more calories. Just one small glass (4 oz) per day is all your body needs.|
|Non-caloric (zero calorie) artificially sweetened drinks like diet soda.||These are better drink choices because they have zero calories, but water and low-fat milk are even healthier choices.|
|Sugary drinks with some nutrients like sports drinks and vitamin water.||Sports drinks can add unnecessary calories. They are designed for athletes after intense physical activity of at least 60 minutes.|
|Sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks and sweetened teas||Rethink your drink! Remember: only one can of soda every day can add on 15 lbs in a year.|
How can I develop healthy drinking habits at home?
- Set a good example by drinking healthy beverages yourself. You set the tone for healthy drinking. If you must drink sugary drinks, limit yourself to 1-2 servings per week and avoid during meals.
- Serve and have healthy drinks available at all times.Children will choose a sweeter drink if the option is available. Serve your child healthy drinks like water to promote lifelong drinking habits.
- Make a commitment to have healthy drinks available, and limit sugary drinks.
- Stock your fridge with healthy drinks. Keep a jug or refillable bottles of cold water in the fridge at all times.
- Serve water at meals.
- If you do buy sugary drinks, go for the small size.
- Make herbal iced tea and serve it unsweetened.
- Pack bottled water for lunch instead of drinks with added sugar.
- Set a limit on drinking soda or other sugary drinks.
- Don't buy soda or sugary drinks – if they are not available, kids can't drink them.
- Talk with your kids about how sugary drinks may cause unhealthy weight gain.
- Tell your neighbors, family and friends about your healthy lifestyle. Research shows the more support, the better the results.
Find Philadelphians interested in making healthy changes on Facebook.
What is my child drinking?
With hundreds of drink choices available, it is important to talk to your child about healthy drinking from a young age. You can get started with this handy guide:
Rate your child's drinking habits! Choose the answer that best describes what your child drinks in an average week. Add up the numbers to see how healthy your child is drinking. You can also use these questions for yourself or other family members.
|In a normal week, my child:||Never||1-3 days/week||4 or more days/week|
|Drinks water after playing hard||0||1||2|
|Drinks a fruit flavored drink when thirsty (do not count artificially flavored drinks with zero calories)||2||1||0|
|Drinks 5 or more glasses of water a day||0||1||2|
|Drinks 1 or more cans or bottles of regular soda a day (do not count diet soda)||2||1||0|
|Drinks milk that is non-fat, skim, 1% milk or soymilk with calcium||0||1||2|
|Drinks fruit flavored drinks with at least one meal||2||1||0|
|Chooses water when he/she wants something to drink||0||1||2|
|Choose regular soda or fruit drink when he/she wants something to drink||2||1||0|
|Drinks just 1 small glass of 100% fruit juice a day||0||1||2|
|Drinks sports drink when he/she is thirsty||2||1||0|
15 or more = Way to go! Your child is drinking healthy – keep up the good work.
11 – 15 = Good. Your child is drinking some healthy beverages – find ways to provide less sugary drinks and more water.
0 – 10 = Rethink your drink. Try to start limiting drinks with added sugar. Providing water at all meals is a good place to start.
How can I make small changes that lead to big results?
WHAT ABOUT TAP WATER?
Philadelphia Drinking Water Quality Report 2009
Only one can of soda every day can add on 15 lbs in a year. Here's how you can reduce the number of sugary drinks you drink.
Drink water instead. If you can't drink water all the time, substitute it for a sugary drinks at least once a day. In one week, you could save about 1,200 calories. If you fill up on water, you won't be as tempted to reach for that second or third sugary drink.
Reduce portion sizes. Read labels and pay attention to the "serving size". For example, a 20-ounce bottle of soda contains 2.5 servings. One serving is 8 ounces. Most people drink the whole 20-ounce bottle in one sitting—a whopping 240 calories. That's about as much as a Snickers bar.
Look for the sugar. Sugar can also be listed as sucrose, glucose or high fructose corn syrup. Honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrates and dextrose are also forms of sugar. Keep an eye out for these hidden sugars.
Order a small. If you drink sugary drinks outside the home, always order a small instead of a medium or large. Avoid any size marked "super" or "big."
Water it down. If you are drinking a sugar-sweetened juice or sports drink like Gatorade, drink half as much juice and dilute it with the same amount of water. Your sugary drinks will last you twice as long, and it will still be sweet to the taste.
Take a sugary drink vacation/break. Select a week, weekend or even month to be sugary drink free!
Think before you drink. It's easy to let a waiter serve you three soda refills, or to guzzle an extra large juice without thinking twice. Before you swallow another 250 calories, take a moment to ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"
How can I encourage healthy drinking outside of the home?
WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL?
Check out the beverage policy for the School District of Philadelphia.
TRY THIS to help your child drink healthy outside of the home:
- Set limits on what drinks your child can purchase at corner stores. Remember, water is the best choice. Get Healthy Philly is working with 1,000 corner stores to make healthier choices more available.
- Send your child to school with a refillable water bottle. Most schools and recreation centers have fresh and available water to fill up throughout the day.
- Convene a meeting with school officials or teachers to jointly address the availability and sale of sugary drinks before, during and after the school day.
- Support your local school wellness policy that eliminates the sale of sugary drinks on school grounds, including sports venues, and as part of school-based activities such as fundraising efforts.
Where can I find out more?
- Truth about Flavored Waters
- Truth about Sports Drinks
- Fruit drinks: Soda's evil twin
- Best - and worst - ways to cut kids' soda sips
- Boston's sugary drink ban on city property
- QUIZ: What is my child drinking?
- Sports and energy drinks: Good for kids?
- Milk and water: the best choices for preschoolers
- Quick tips for choosing healthier drinks
- How much sugar is in drinks?
- CDC guide to reducing sugar sweetened beverages (policy, environmental and systems change)
- Beverage intake in the United States
- Rethink your drink
- Healthy Weight Program (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)