A Party Without Sugary Drinks – Just as Sweet

For many kids, parties are a sugar extravaganza. From cake and ice cream to candy-filled goody bags, sweet treats often rule the day. And do you know another major source of sugar at a birthday celebration? You guessed it, sugary drinks. According to KidsHealth.org, one 12-ounce serving of a carbonated sweetened soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar – that’s like eating a second slice of birthday cake!

I’m proud to say that I recently hosted my first sugary beverage-free kid birthday party! I wanted my son’s seventh birthday to be a fun celebration, but I was determined to make healthy drinks part of the festivities. Instead of the usual party staples of juice boxes filled with sugar, the kids enjoyed pint sized bottles of water.  I bought the ones with the sports cap – just to add some flare.  They were all having too much fun to even realize what they were missing – or not missing, as seemed to be the case. I didn’t hear a single complaint! In fact, I even heard compliments on the cool water bottle tops. While I wasn’t sure how my better beverage plan would be received, I’m glad I proved to myself and my family that, even in times of celebration, we can still make healthy choices.

For your own sugary beverage-free parties, you can also try mixing the kids’ favorite fruit in sparkling water or using the Better Beverage Finder to identify a less sugary, yet just as delicious, option.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to forgo the excitement of blowing out the candles and serving up a slice of birthday cake. But that doesn’t mean we have to pile on the sugar through sweetened beverages too. It’s all about finding a balance and teaching kids that celebration doesn’t have to equal sugar…but it can still be just as “sweet.”

- Courtney, a Howard County mom

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