"Choose water as a drink"

Source: Australian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents 

Water is the best drink for children.

  • Water is refreshing and healthy for bodies and teeth.
  • Remind children to drink water regularly while at school to prevent dehydration.

Water is an essential nutrient

  • Water makes up over half of our body.
  • Many important functions in our bodies require water.
  • Tap water contains fluoride for strong bones and teeth.

Our bodies naturally lose water as we breathe and sweat, and also in urine and faeces.

  • We must replace this water by drinking regularly during the day.
  • Children who do not drink enough during the day can become tired and irritable, have difficulty concentrating, or develop a headache.

Children need to have regular drinks at school every day.

  • Children often forget to drink during the day, and need to be reminded.
  • Drinking is especially important during warm weather and also before, during and after active play and sporting activities.
  • It is just as important to drink enough water in cold weather.

Drinks to avoid at school.

  • Soft drinks (such as cola, lemonade etc), sweetened fruit juice drinks, cordials and sweet drinks have large amounts of sugar. Drinking these regularly could contribute to obesity and tooth decay. The acidity of soft drinks can lead to erosion of teeth and a greater chance of decay. Cola drinks contain caffeine.
  • "Energy drinks" are not suitable for children because they contain high levels of caffeine.
  • Fruit juice is not needed every day, as it is high in sugar, very acidic and can decay tooth enamel. Because of the high sugar content (even in unsweetened versions) fruit juice should not be consumed more than once a day and have a water rinse after drinking the juice. It is better to drink the juice all at once rather than keep sipping throughout the day.

Lunch box ideas

  • If you pack a frozen water bottle in hot weather, remember that it will take time to thaw enough to drink. Try filling the water bottle to 1/3 or 1/2 full and freeze overnight. Top up with cool water before packing it for school.
  • Read the label on fruit juice and choose one without added sugar.

For more information