Keeping your kids healthy is one of your top concerns, and yet with your busy schedule, you might not have the time to research what health drinks can best get them through the day. You have an overwhelming amount of options, all claiming to be the best, and so it can be a challenge finding out exactly which health drink would best meet your child’s needs.
Today, we are going to teach you how to select the best health drink for the kids in your life, based on factors such as included nutrients, flavors, and price. Read on to discover this year’s most popular health drinks for children on the market!
How to Choose Health Drinks for Children – Buying Guide
When buying health drinks for children, know first that there are many “natural” and “healthy” options that have an incredible amount of sugar and otherwise don’t live up to their promises. We’ll help you avoid those products and instead buy only the best with the following tips.
Choose Based on Purpose
As you know, the “health” in “health drink” can mean several different things–what aspect of your child’s health, specifically, are you looking to improve? Once you determine that, you can target your purchases to drinks that will address that problem.
Select Fiber and Protein to Help Kids Grow
Two key nutrients that promote healthy growth in children are fiber and protein. Fiber (typically listed as “dietary fiber”) is an essential nutrient that ensures smooth digestion (and thereby fights constipation). Not only that, but foods and drinks rich in fiber are also rich in other nutrients kids need to grow healthy and strong–and may help with obesity. Kids need around 11-13 grams of fiber per day (depending on their age), so select health drinks that will help them reach this goal.
The other key nutrient, protein, helps kids grow and maintain healthy muscles, blood, and body organs. Protein is also needed to produce hormones and enzymes, and to build and repair tissue. Kids need about 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you’re looking to replace a meal with a health drink, make sure it has at least 33% of their daily value (DV) of protein.
When looking at health drinks that will make kids grow, look not only for high levels of protein and fiber, but also low levels of sugar. Sugar is very addictive and can lead your kids to overeat, as well as create more fat around their stomach area and potentially lead to further health complications later in life. Kids need no more than 25 added grams of sugar per day in their diet.
Drinkable Multivitamin and Probiotics Strengthen the Immune System
It’s no secret that we need a lot of vitamins to stay healthy, and that it’s very hard to get all the nutrients we need from a standard American diet. So to ensure that all their systems are functioning properly, get your kids drinks that also function as multivitamins.
Unlike multivitamins, probiotics don’t get as much attention, which is unfortunate, as a healthy level of probiotics can prevent several digestion disturbances seen in kids today. Probiotics decrease the amount of inflammation- and infection-causing bacteria in the gut and instead promote the growth of healthy bacteria. If your kid is constantly complaining of stomach issues, chances are they could use more probiotics!
Keep Kids Calm and Focused with Magnesium
Did you know that approximately 80% of the American population suffers from a magnesium deficiency? It’s true, and again, it’s largely due to our diet–magnesium comes chiefly in foods like dark leafy greens, which we certainly don’t consume enough of.
Magnesium is crucial for creating a sense of calm and focus in the body and for helping the brain take a chill pill on the anxiety and stress. When the body is under stress, it uses up magnesium, and so if the body is trying to use up magnesium when there isn’t enough there…well, you can imagine what happens.
Typically, though, multivitamins have low dosages of magnesium, so you’ll need to look for a supplement that is specifically magnesium, or a health drink that contains high levels of magnesium. Today, many health drinks for children are made from several dark leafy greens. There are also powders that are specifically 100% magnesium, and these powders easily mix into your kid’s favorite juice or milk.
Powder vs. Liquid: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Each
Health drinks for children come in two main forms: powder and liquid. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Powdered Drinks: You Can Control Just How Much Your Child Is Consuming
The chief advantage here is that you can control how much powder you put into the liquid base (e.g., milk, water, juice). You can start with a little bit of powder, and work up to more once your kid gets used to the new flavor or consistency, and likewise, you can always scale back on how much powder you include.
This means that a) you can control how many nutrients you’re adding to your child’s diet and b) you can hide bits of powder in favorite drinks and food, which is perfect for picky eaters.
The main issue with powder, however, is with consistency–while some powders do a great job of dissolving completely in the liquid base, others have an aftertaste or leave clumps of powder. So look at the reviews. Parents will be quick to say if these powders blend well or not, and what juices or other beverages they blend well into. Some powders are better for smoothies, while others are fine for even the lightest juices.
Liquid Drinks: The Measurements and the Mixing Are Already Done, Saving You Time
With liquids, you have the convenience of being able to grab them from the fridge and go. The nutrients are already all measured out for you, so you don’t have to take those extra 2 minutes in the morning to ensure you’re giving your kids the right amount.
These liquids also don’t have an odd texture or consistency, meaning they may be easier for your kids to adapt to, but you also can’t control how much of anything you include, since the drink is already ready-made.
Flavor, too, is pre-determined. So if you’ve got a picky eater, he or she may very will refuse to drink. (Hopefully, though, your kid likes chocolate or vanilla, because that’s the flavor most health drinks come in.)
If You’re Looking to Replace Meals or Snacks, Get Superfood Blends
If your family is like the average American family, you’re on the go a lot. Between piano recitals, football practice, spring concerts, and family outings, you don’t always have the time to cook 21 balanced meals every week.
Health drink makers know this, which is why they’ve created “superfood” blends. Chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals from a high number of fruits and vegetables, these drinks (which often come in powder form) are a great way to keep a balanced diet on the go.
Go Organic to Keep Kids Safe from Pesticides
It seems pesticides and other harmful chemicals are in everything these days, with an increasing amount of warnings from conscious eating groups about how these pesticides negatively affect our health. Although more expensive, going organic is the best bet for keeping your kids as healthy as possible. Just look for the “USDA Organic” logo on the label.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that going organic is extremely expensive. Many companies will use organic practices, but cannot afford the cost of an official certification. If you’ve found a company you and your kid love, but there’s no “USDA Organic” logo on it, take the time to research the company, in case they are implementing organic practices but simply can’t afford the official organic label.
Top 10 Best Health Drinks for Children to Buy Online
For all you looking for the best health drinks for children, below are our top 10 favorites. They’re all made without artificial sweeteners, and have been kid-tested to include only the tastiest options!
10. Oxylent Multivitamin Supplement Drink
High Level of Nutrients for High Functioning Kids
The bubbly berry flavor of this drink mix will delight your kids’ taste buds the same time it provides them with the nutrition they need. With a higher amount of vitamins and minerals than most other kids’ supplements, this product from Oxylent will keep your kids’ brains and guts–and as a result, their mood and energy levels–high functioning and healthy.
Despite the benefits, this mix can be a tad grainy. Don’t let that discourage you, though, as the pros definitely outweigh the cons on this one; just mix the powder in something thicker, like a smoothie, so your kids won’t even notice it’s there!
9. Healthy Height Shake Mix
Smooth Powder, Smooth Taste for Shakes That Help Your Kids Grow
Made without any synthetic dyes or flavors, the vanilla flavor of this drink is the real deal–and the absence of anything synthetic means all the more true nutrition for your kids. When combined with milk, this is one delicious shake your kids will look forward to having every day–and you’ll be happy to know your kids are getting lots of calcium, zinc, fiber and protein, which are all nutrients that will help your kids grow up strong.
Unfortunately, to get the full effect of this product, it’s recommended you make your kids a shake twice a day–something the young ones may easily tire of. If this becomes a problem, try buying both flavors at once (chocolate and vanilla) and serve one flavor each day for a little variety.
8. Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood
Trick Your Picky Eaters into Eating Veggies with this Chocolate Dream
Okay, so the brand’s name–Amazing Grass–might be a turn-off, but don’t knock this product before you’ve tried it. After all, you can’t beat the nutrition of this drink with its blend of 7 greens, 14 fruits, and 11 veggies. Best of all, they mixed all of that into this palate-pleasing chocolate flavor your kids will go crazy for. Now you can panic less when your kids don’t finish all the spinach on their plate.
Biggest con here–the blending. As the company itself advertises, it’s better if you have a shaker bottle when mixing this powder with any sort of liquid. If you don’t have one, you can always use a blender instead–by being mixed directly with other smoothie ingredients, it’s easier to avoid those unpleasant lumps of powder. Just be sure to keep the blender on for a few seconds more than normal.
7. Pediasure Nutrition Shake with Fiber
7 Grams of Protein and 3 Grams of Fiber Help Kids Grow Strong
Tired of mixing powders and instead want something easy and on-the-go? Packed with 25 vitamins and minerals, this pre-made shake is perfect for on the way to school or soccer practice. And if your kids are tired of vanilla, you’re in luck, as PediaSure has a scrumptious strawberry flavor your kids are sure to down in the short car ride to wherever you’re going.
A note of caution–this product does contain fiber, so be careful and do not let your children consume too many bottles. Consult with your physician if needed regarding how many servings per day are appropriate, and switch to the version without fiber should your children experience any issues.
6. Culturelle Daily Probiotic Supplement
Fast-working Probiotic Strains Soothe Even the Angriest Tummies
If your little ones have tummy troubles, most medications–even those made for kids–may be too harsh. Probiotics work with the stomach to aid digestion, and the strains in this product are among the most highly effective on the market. When taken properly, Culturelle can ease even the most stubborn tummy issues, often working within the hour, and it’s not grainy at all, so you don’t have to worry about your kids swallowing clumps of powder.
The makers of this product chose to not add any flavors–you decide if that’s good or bad. If your kids prefer exciting flavors in their drinks, avoid mixing with just water. Try instead blending with chocolate or strawberry milk, or adding to pear juice or a smoothie.
5. Honest Kids Organic Lemonade
Less Sugar + Organic = Healthy Snacktime Drink
No, this still doesn’t compare to Grandma’s homemade lemonade, but for your busy kids, it’s the perfect substitute. Lower on the sugar than its competitors, this drink will refresh your kids without the sugar rush, and pro tip–stick these in the freezer a few minutes before leaving the house for an extra special (and healthy!) treat.
Remember: this drink isn’t packed with multivitamins, so it’s more of a snack–a healthier option than other kids’ juices on the market–than a nutritional supplement. Also be aware you may need to help your kids open the packs; they’re made of a sturdy material that kids often struggle to puncture with the provided straw.
4. Bright Beginnings Soy Nutrition
Yummy Soy Shake Without Any of the Typical Milk-Alternative Aftertastes
Most kids’ nutritional shakes have milk, or at least milk protein in them, so hooray for a drink that has none of that! And don’t worry–yes, often soy alternatives have a less pleasant taste, or an aftertaste, but this pediatric drink has none of that. With its gentle vanilla flavor, as well as the calories and nutrients your kids need, this is one “milkshake” your kids will be asking for!
The biggest downside to this product is that it comes in a can, so if your kids don’t drink it all in one go, you have to find ways of keeping the drink fresh, or risk wasting what they don’t drink. Because of that, this product is best for less picky eaters who can be expected to drink the whole thing, or to share among siblings.
3. MacroLife Naturals Green Drink Mix
Probiotics + Alkalizing Greens = Smooth Digestion
Don’t let the “coco” in the name of this drink fool you–it’s not coconut flavored, but rather chocolate. Hopefully this is good news for even your pickiest eater! And there’s more–with all its probiotics and alkalizing superfoods, this drink helps maintain healthy levels of stomach acid while promoting healthy digestion.
This drink has so many things going for it with its nutritional properties and flavor, but it does have significantly less fruit and veggie servings than the Amazing Grass product mentioned above. The powder can also be a bit thick, so keep that in mind when preparing it for your kids, as you might need to spend a bit more time stirring.
2. Natural Vitality Calm Kids
Natural Magnesium Keeps Kids Calm and Focused
A serving of this drink has 42% of your DV of magnesium, which is meant to calm your kids down. There’s no mess, as the extra-fine powder dissolves easily into water, and it has a bright berry flavor. If your kids struggle with anxiety during the day, give this to them in the mornings, or an alternative is to serve them the drink before bed for a fuller night’s sleep.
A slight con is that, although the berry flavor is very kid-friendly, it can be a bit strong for some. To overcome this, simply mix the powder with apple or orange juice–the juice’s flavor will hide the powder’s taste a bit, to make your picky eaters a little happier.
1. Superfoods for Kids Super Greens
Dozens of Superfoods Combined into This Tasty Chocolate Shake
Formulated by a doctor with direct knowledge of the connection between digestive issues, emotional imbalances and a person’s diet, this chocolate-flavored superfood blend was designed with the health of your growing child in mind. Packed with more fruits and vegetables than you could ever get your kids to eat, this drink will help your little ones grow strong and healthy without even knowing how much nutrition they’re getting–the smooth chocolately taste is divine!
If there’s anything negative about this product, it’s that for some it can be too sweet. At the very least, however, it’s made with natural sweeteners, and most kids probably won’t complain about something being too sweet. If they do, try mixing with just water (instead of juice) before giving up.
Quality, high level of nutrients, and delicious flavor are essential in finding the perfect health drinks for your little ones. There seem to be countless options out there when it comes to kids’ health drinks, and each year even more options are added. Hopefully, the tips above will help you take a more targeted approach when it comes to choosing the right kids’ health drinks for your family.
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