Water provides essential support for all of our everyday bodily functions. Therefore we need to drink water every day, and the best and cheapest source of water is a tap.
Water has no added sugar, so it's a much healthier option than most fruit juices, soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. It's also the best drink for quenching a thirst. Drinking water (or plain, low-fat milk) instead of sugar sweetened beverages can help to prevent dental problems, because the fluoride found in tap water helps to strengthen teeth and bones. A person who doesn't drink enough water has an increased risk of experiencing poor health outcomes, such as obesity.
While flavoured water may seem like a good alternative, it is still classified as a sugary drink. Such flavoured waters often include citric and other fruit-derived acids that contribute to dental decay.
Drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea and ‘energy’ drinks, can affect sleep patterns, behaviour and development. For this reason, they should also be avoided. Packaged fruit juices are high in sugar and acid, and low in fibre. Eating a piece of fresh fruit is better than drinking juice, because it will help keep your teen full and satisfied.
Tips for Drinking More Healthy Beverages
Remove high-sugar drinks from the house,
Only keep low fat plain milk in the fridge,
Avoid buying full fat or flavoured milk,
Only put water on the table for dinner,
Get everyone in the house to be a role-model drinking water as the main drink,
Encourage the use of re-fillable water bottles at school and when going out,
Keep chilled water in the fridge and make cups or bottles easy to access,
Add natural flavour to water using cucumber or a slice of lemon, strawberry, orange or lime,
Freeze a water bottle to put in lunch boxes,
Choose natural sparkling or mineral water instead of soft drink.
Recommended Fluid Intake
Boys 14-18 years, 1.9L = about 7-8 cups per day
Girls 14-18 years, 1.6L = about 6 cups per day
Remember that water-loss happens naturally, but the rate at which it occurs increases in hot weather and with exercise. Try to replenish any water loss by increasing your fluid intake to compensate.
[Source: DoH – Get Up And Grow; Healthy Kids; Raising Children Network; NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values]