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The hot days of summer are ahead and the kids are enthusiastically playing, jumping and running around the yard.  You want to have them be active, but are they drinkinchildren-433165__340g enough fluid?

Children, especially infants and preschoolers, become dehydrated faster than adults.   They often get busy playing and don’t recognize the signs of dehydration.  Signs of dehydration include:

  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Lethargy or irritability
  • Fatigue or dizziness
  • Lack of urine or only a small amount that is very dark yellow in color
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Sunken eyes

Many times thirst is not the first sign or an early sign of dehydration. A child may be dehydrated before they feel thirsty.   If a child drinks when thirsty it may not completely replace all the necessary body fluids.   Thus, it’s important to drink before thirst develops and continue to drink.

What to drink?

Water is the best choice for re-hydration.  Sports drinks are usually not needed unless the child has participated in prolonged (more than an hour) vigorous physical activity.  Examples of vigorous physical activity are long-distance running or biking, soccer, basketball, or hockey.  Water is the best option for re-hydrating, and it has no calories.  Milk can also be a good option for re-hydration.  Children should not be given energy drinks or drinks with caffeine.

How much bottles-774466__340do they need to drink?

There is no magic number but children should drink before the activity and then at regular intervals (every 20-30 minutes) during the activity and after it is over.   The higher the temperature outside the more they need to drink.  Eating foods with high water content can help hydrate too.  These include soup, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach and broccoli.

Make Water fun to Drink

  1. Purchase some ice cube trays in fun shapes and use them.
  2. Freeze fruit pieces and then add to the water to drink. You can cut them in interesting shapes before freezing. water-2232732__340
  3. Add fruit to the water, such as lemon, limes, oranges, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
  4. Purchase an infuser bottle and add the fruit or cucumbers to provide more taste. Be sure to wash the bottle each day after use.
  5. Let the child pick out a new water bottle or special cup.
  6. Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles to use when needed.
  7. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator so you can pour them a cool drink, or have small bottles of water in the refrigerator they can easily grab.
  8. Try some sparkling waters without added sugar or sugar substitutes if you want the carbonation. Read labels carefully.

Be A Good Example Yourself! Drink Water!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Washington County

References:

Barron, S. A. (2016).  Dehydration.  Kids Health from Nemours.  Available at http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/dehydration.html#

Martin, L. J. (2017). Dehydration.  Medline Plus, U. S. National Library of Medicine.  Available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000982.htm

Mayo Clinic Staff, (2017).  Dehydration Symptoms and Causes.  Mayo Clinic.  Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/dxc-2026

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Does your family go through boxes and boxes of store-bought snacks faster than you can replenish them? Do you feel like you’re spending a majority of your grocery budget on sugar-filled, processed snacks that don’t seem to last more than a few days at your house? There is an answer to this madness. Make your own snacks!

You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for that!” and while that may be true, you’d be surprised how much time you’d actually be saving. Yes, making your own snacks involves some planning and prepping. However, this planning and prepping stage might not involve the lengthy process of taking a trip to the grocery store. You can make various snacks for you, your kids, and whoever else may be at your house from foods you likely already have on hand. For example, you could try the Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars shown below. In addition, recipes like these make large enough batches to provide snacks lasting up to two weeks if stored properly. Many store bought boxes of granola bars provide only 5 servings, so why not whip up homemade bars that yield about 24 servings per batch.

Find a recipe for snacks that fits your own personal schedule. On a time crunch this week? Throw together a big batch of trail mix using those nuts you bought in bulk that have been taking up space in your cupboard. Add in cereal, raisins, seeds, or chocolate chips and seal in an air-tight container. Scoop into sandwich-sized bags for an easy, balanced, and healthful snack for any time or place.

Buying ingredients in bulk at your favorite grocery store can help make an abundance of different snacks that add variety to your daily routine. Stock up on versatile foods like oats and nuts and you’d be surprised at your options for snacks and meals as well as how much more full your wallet feels. The recipe below, found on the What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl website provides a snack that costs $0.30 per serving. No, that’s not a typo; $0.30 per serving. These homemade granola bars yield 24 servings making the total cost of the recipe about $7.15 according to USDA. You could get about 2 boxes, or 10 servings, of your average granola bars for that price.

Health bonus: Snacks like these provide more than just dollars in your pocket and variety to your pantry. The nutrition in homemade snacks like these is worth more than all of the previous reasons combined. The carbohydrate and protein provided in healthful, homemade snacks will offer the energy you need along with satisfaction until your next meal. On the plus side, you know exactly what ingredients are going into your snacks without paying for processed sugars and ingredients you can’t pronounce.

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Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars

From “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl

Makes: 24 servings

Total Cost: $7.15

Serving Cost: $0.30

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup carrot (grated)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and grate the carrots.
  3. Put the honey and peanut butter in a large saucepan. Cook on low heat until melted. Remove pan from the heat.
  4. Add oatmeal, raisins, carrots, and coconut to the saucepan. Stir well, and let it cool until you can safely touch it with your hands.
  5. Press the mix firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Cool and cut into 24 bars.

Authors: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Allision Doriot , Dietetic Intern with Wood County Extension.

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, West Region, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu

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