Once your baby turns 12 months, they are officially entering toddlerhood. This means they are going to want to start experimenting with different kinds of foods and drinks. Of course, milk and water are the best drinks you can offer to your child but what happens when they get bored of these?
Or what if they refuse to drink milk? Or perhaps your child does like milk but does not finish up everything on her plate.
Whatever category your toddler fits into, you should ensure you are ready with some healthy alternatives so that they get their delicious options and you ensure they get their daily nutrient needs to be met. A win-win situation for everybody. So here are some great healthy drinks you can give your little one:
1. Coconut water
Children love drinking coconut water because it tastes sweet, unlike normal water. It gives a little pump of energy due to the electrolytes present in coconut water. It helps keep them hydrated when the weather is dry. It also contains a number of nutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin C and many others. It can even serve as a remedy for tummy troubles or for when they fall sick.
2. Substitutes for milk
If your toddler is lactose intolerant, that is, if s/he is allergic to drinking cow’s milk, you can try other substitutes for it. Almond milk and soya milk are great for a child above 12 months. Almond milk has a sweet taste and thus can be given to kids who don’t like the taste of cow’s milk. Soya milk has quite a different taste but they may grow to like it so experiment by giving them a little bit first.
3. Hot chocolate
Chocolate should not be given to toddlers under the age of two because it contains caffeine which isn’t good for them. When you decide to give them a taste of chocolate, it is best to introduce it with milk. Take a cup of hot milk and stir in 2 squares of dark chocolate. It will instantly give a chocolaty flavour to the milk. You could give them this drink twice a week. As long as it is given in moderation, you can avoid getting them addicted to chocolate.
4. Vegetable juice
If your kid isn’t a big fan of eating all their veggies, you can make a colourful juice instead and tasty juice instead. To make the drink even more enjoyable, you can combine a vegetable juice with a fruit juice that they already like. Vegetables like carrots and beets are great for juices and can be combined with mango or apple juice. Just make sure not to add more than a spoonful of sugar since the juice already has enough sweetness from the fruit and vegetables. If you find it a hassle to make it home, you could always buy ready-made 100% vegetable juices (no added sugar, preservatives or artificial flavours) instead. You could give them this juice thrice a week.
5. Fruit smoothie
Smoothies are a favourite amongst kids. They’re super easy to prepare as well! You only need to blend some milk, yoghurt and fruit together and voila! It’s ready. You could make it extra healthy by garnishing with some dry fruit. You can also try combining the vegetable juice mentioned above. The drink can be given once in a while as a treat or as a substitute for a dessert. Having it often could affect their appetite as it will leave them feeling full for a long time.