Keeping the Kids Well Hydrated with Fun Fruit
Water is good for you. You've heard it from doctors, nutritionists, and mom and dad. Water does a body good. It's true. The facts are spelled out all the time. Why is water good for you? Well, mostly because water makes up more than half of the human body. To keep the body functioning properly, you must keep it hydrated. That's something that is easier said than done, especially when it comes to children. It's always difficult to sell children on a good health tip. But, there are ways to get them the water they need in order to thrive. We'll share those tips with you; but, first, enlighten yourself with some facts about water and the body. Here are some key water factoids as they relate to the human (and young and growing) body:
- An infant's body can contain nearly 80 percent water (or 75 to 78 percent). That percentage drops to about 65 percent by the time the infant turns a year old.
- Fatty tissue contains less water than lean tissue. So, the more muscle built, the healthier the water content of the body.
- The organ that contains the most water are the lungs, at about 83 percent.
- The kidneys and all muscle in the body contain close to 80 percent water.
- The brain and heart are composed of roughly 73 percent water.
- Skin is made up of 64 percent water; and, even bones have water content (31 percent).
It stands to reason that we need to keep the body hydrated for it to work properly. That's why ퟀ� and you've heard it before ퟀ� it's recommended that the average person drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Again, that can be a tough sell, especially for kids. So, turning to high-water-content fruits as fun snacks can sneak in needed hydration. Fruit facts and fun
- Watermelon and strawberries contain the most water of all fruits at roughly 92 percent. Luckily, they're fun fruits. Or, they can be.
Try buying a watermelon and using cookie cutters to cut watermelon pieces into fun shapes. Prepare them in advance and keep them in the fridge in a Tupperware container so that kids can easily grab a healthy, high-water-content snack after activities or school or any time. Strawberries can be fun and delicious, too. You can make it fun by offering to take the kids to a pick-your-own strawberry field. It makes the eating of this hydrating fruit all the more fun. Strawberry shortcake is reasonably healthy if you just cut some fresh strawberries onto a piece of angel food cake (which is not high in sugar content or fat) and add just a dollop of whipped cream or, better yet, plain yogurt. Keeping them cut and fresh in the fridge is always a simple, easy snack option, too.
- Grapefruit is very high in water content, as well. Cut it in half and serve with breakfast. Using grapefruit spoons can be fun for kids. Make a game out of seeing how fast the kids can scoop out all the sections. Or make a cup of fresh grapefruit juice.
- Cantaloupe and peaches contain 88 percent water. Scoop the melon out in little balls and keep them in the fridge in small serving containers. Or, cut the cantaloupe into slices and fun shapes. See who can eat the most stars or hearts, if those are the shapes. Kids love anything that looks more fun than it tastes. Though, melon is tasty! Show them how to pick one out in the store. The more involved children are in the process, the more interested they are in eating the product. If they picked it, there's a little pride that comes with eating it.
Peaches are just one of those summery fruits that are easy to just grab from a counter bowl and eat. And they're a favorite, because they're sweet and juicy from all that water. You can also slice peaches into a bowl of yogurt or frozen yogurt. Remember that once they become accustomed to having these things around, they'll start eating them more as a matter of routine. So, make a habit of keeping these things around and easily accessible. All fruits have a reasonably high water content, with pineapple, cranberries, oranges and raspberries at 87 percent and the rest in the 80s percent range. Any fruits may be combined with a dash of organic honey and frozen into popsicles. Just pulverize the chosen fruits in a bowl or food processor (which can be fun for kids), mix in a little drizzle of honey and/or yogurt, pour into plastic popsicle molds, or you can use ice trays with popsicle sticks, and freeze. It's easy, healthy and thirst-quenching. So, make it a family routine to drink up by serving fruits with high water content and no one is the wiser. And, yes, add a tall glass of water with the kids' snack or meal and put a slice of lemon in it. Never hurts. Always helps. Keeping the kids hydrated in any little way makes for a healthier growing brain and other vital organs. Tell the kids that every time they take a drink of water or eat some of these fun fruit snacks, their brain will say, "Thank You!" One day, they'll thank you, too.