Rethink Your Drink

Disclaimer: We have partnered with TSET, to share with you their Shape the Future campaign to encourage you and your family to have better reasons why we should #RethinkYourDrinkOK.

This time last year, I was sitting in my daughter’s pediatricians office for her three year well child visit. Her doctor had asked her a series of questions.

“Do you eat lots of good fruits and veggies?”
“Yes!”
“Do you brush your teeth everyday?”
“Yes!”
“Are you drinking mostly milk or water?”

“Nope!”, my daughter proudly declared, “I only drink lemonade!”

Ugh. My three year old had sold me out (and was totally exaggerating)!  Thankfully, her doctor was super sweet about it, but also didn’t downplay the importance of avoiding regular sugary drinks.  The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has made it their goal this summer to encourage Oklahomans to “Rethink Your Drink” as a part of the ongoing state health initiative, “Shape Your Future”.

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I carefully plan my families meals and make healthy snacks available to my kids throughout the day, but for some reason, it’s harder to see the harm in what they are drinking! Especially when so many of their favorites are marketed with healthy sounding phrases like “naturally flavored”, or “100% fruit juice”.  I mean, it’s basically the same as handing my kids an apple, right? Apparently not…our bodies process the sugars in fruit and the sugars in drinks completely differently.  And the amount of sugar in our drinks? It’s SHOCKING. Check out my daughter’s favorite drink.  unknown (4)

Say it isn’t so!! There is NO WAY in the world I would EVER watch her down 11 packets of sugar or more than 5 ice pops, yet here I am, refilling her lemonade cup all the live long day!
Just as surprising are the other infographics showing just how much sugar we are taking in when we indulge in sodas, juice boxes, sports drinks, or (my personal favorite) iced coffee!
SodaNutrition-TSET JuiceBoxes-TSET
SportsDrink-TSET IcedCoffee-TSET

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of young adult Oklahomans, ages 18–34, drink sugar-sweetened beverages at least once per day—more than any other state in the United States. The amount of sugar consumed by many Oklahoma young adults conservatively adds up to more than 21 million pounds of added sugar per year, or 38 pounds per person. Drinking these sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to a variety of adverse health effects, including weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as liver disease, gout and tooth decay. For these reasons, long term, even one drink per day is not okay.

Breaking the habit of sugary drinks can be tough, but it’s also so important to put our health first! Not only is water completely free of sugar, it is incredibly beneficial! Drinking water helps you maintain a healthy weight, helps with digestion, and prevents constipation. It can even prevent headaches, boost energy and improve mood and fatigue. (Shoutout to my fellow Mombies! We. Need. Water.) Adequate water intake will also improve kidney and joint health. And BONUS: it is VERY easy on the pocketbook!

In an effort to better our health this summer, my family has made the switch to good ol’ H2O! So. How did we do it? First of all, stop buying the juice and soda.  My four year old’s budget is nonexistent, so if I’m not buying the lemonade, she’s not either. It’s much easier to tell her we don’t have it than to try to get her to choose water over her favorite drink.

Secondly, it’s so important to present the change as a treat!  Don’t emphasize the sacrifice of the soft drink, but instead, play up how tasty water (especially infused water!) can be.  I took my daughter on a special trip to the grocery store to shop for a fruit infusion water pitcher, and let her pick out her favorite fruit and vegetables to infuse.

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She has LOVED making up recipes and, most importantly, she is excited to taste it and is guzzling it down! She mostly prefers fruit like strawberries, oranges, and blueberries, with the occasional veggie.   If you’re looking for more of a kick, try a little bit of jalapeno pepper balanced out with something cool like cucumber or watermelon.   You can even make fun ice cubes with fruit inside! The possibilities are literally endless, so there is no need to be bored with your drink this summer!
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As parents, we have the chance to change our families health for the better and even influence the overall health of our state.  This summer, TSET (and I!) encourage you to #RethinkYourDrink and reach for a cool and refreshing glass of ice water. Your health, and the health of your children, will thank you for it!

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