Connie Metcalf RD, a Munson Medical Center Dietitian in Traverse City, knows that water is key for kids’ health. She shares with us water’s nutrition facts, why it’s so important, and how to make drinking water more fun for kids.

Water is one of the body’s most essential nutrients. You can survive weeks without food, but you can’t live very long without water. Water is the most abundant substance in the body and is the cornerstone for all body functions. It helps keep our body temperature at a constant 98.6 degrees, transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, and carries waste products away.

So, how much water do kids really need? Data from the Institute of Medicine recommends kids ages 4 to 8 need about five cups of water daily. Kids ages 9 to 13 require seven to eight cups daily. Remember that we all need more when doing a lot of exercise or when it’s hot out. Caution that once you experience thirst, you may be on the road to dehydration. The challenge is to help make drinking water a healthy habit.

One of the most successful methods to help kids develop that water drinking habit is to have parents role model drinking water on a regular basis. Over time, kids will notice that water is the easiest go-to beverage of choice.

7 easy ways to make drinking water more fun:

  • Add frozen juice ice cubes
  • Crush fruit in a pitcher or cup and add water
  • Use a few Mio drops to jazz up the flavor
  • Get a fun water bottle for kids to pack and take with them
  • Educate kids why water is important and use a pictorial tally chart for a day.
  • Remove sugared drinks and pops from the house.
  • Experiment with different flavors like orange or lemon slices.

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Photo(s) by Courtney Jerome