The principal beverage at home, water

Water is the best way to hydrate: nothing beats it.

Indeed, it meets our body’s needs for liquid perfectly well. Plus, it’s free. Though its fresh, pure taste might not appeal to everyone, there are endless ways to jazz it up and turn it into a treat. Just use your imagination !

You can learn to love it!

If plain water is not your cup of tea…

To cool off…

Flavouring the water can offer an interesting alternative to vary the pleasures. There are a variety of flavours to try at home that are tasty and healthy for your body and teeth.

Recipe

For 2 cups of water (500 mL), add 1/2 cup (125 mL) of fruit pieces. Fruit can be fresh or frozen. The addition of herbs is optional.

For some recipes' inspirations

In most cases (with the exception of strawberries and bananas), the fruit remains tasty and can be eaten afterwards. No waste! 

Avoid commercially flavored waters, as well as liquid or powdered flavors to add to your water. Not only are they often sweetened, they are also acidic and can cause dental erosion.

At home, limit the addition of citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit), since they can also affect dental health.

Sugar-sweetened beverages : Not every day!

Would you eat sugar by the spoonful?
Why drink it then?

Sugar should be eaten in moderation, especially in its liquid form, because it :

DOES NOT SATISFY HUNGER

The sugar we drink often merely adds to the calories from other foods without making us eat any less.

CONTRIBUTES TO TOOTH DECAY

Le sucre liquide est en contact avec toutes les dents, y compris les endroits difficiles à atteindre, ce qui contribue au développement de la carie dentaire.

OVERWHELMS THE BODY

The sudden input of a large amount of sugar overwhelms the body. It is hard for the system to process all this sugar at once. The ensuing reactions foster the accumulation of fat.


Many covers, same book: liquid sugar

Did you know ?
  • A can of soft drink e contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • A bottle of vitamin water contains up to 8 teaspoons of sugar.
  • A can of energy drink contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This is particularly true for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) !

Liquid sugar comes in many guises to appeal to all tastes and palates. Some of these beverages even pass for health products. Vitamin water, iced tea, soda, cola, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit beverages, punch, lemonade and cocktails are all liquid candy.

 


What’s become of special occasion ?

Did you know?
  • In the 1950s, a 768 ml bottle of soda was enough to quench the thirst of at least three people. Today, an individual-size bottle or can often contains close to 600 ml.
  • A so-called “small” SSB offered in fast-food restaurants is often as big as a can.

Liquid sugar is an occasional food that should be had as a treat a few times a month, if not a few times a year ! As it happens, too many Quebeckers drink sugar each week, each day, and even many times at that. 

SSB companies keep temptation within eyesight and, more importantly, always within reach! Indeed, liquid sugar is available everywhere, including hardware and electronics stores!

Advertising suggests, also, that we drink sugar at every meal. Yet, liquid sugar is far from being the ideal accompaniment to food.


Liquid sugar : NOT everyday !

Did you know ?

 

  • 1 out of 5 children drink liquid candy every day.
  • 1 out of 4 adolescents drink liquid sugar every day. On average, adolescent boys 14 to 18 years old drink ½ litre a day and adolescent girls 1/3 litre a day.

The overconsumption of SSB has serious consequences. Drinking liquid sugar every day contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. For example, in children, one SSB per day increases the risk of being obese by 60%.

Aside from obesity, abusing liquid sugar can be harmful even for normal-weight people. This is why it is important to rethink how we hydrate and to opt, whenever possible, for alternatives to SSB!

Making more room for water and leaving as little room as possible for drinks with added sugar (fruit punches or cocktails, iced teas, soft drinks, flavoured dairy drinks, slush drinks, etc.) and juices is a winning strategy. There are healthy alternatives for gradually moving away from sugary drinks.

Other alternatives ?

So-called diet” drinks:

Not really a healthy alternative.  However low in calories, these are not necessarily healthy options. Here’s why:

  1. the acidity of these non-nutritional drinks contributes to dental erosion;
  2. they keep alive a taste for sweetness and the desire for sweet foods;
  3. children and consumers of large quantities of these products are at risk of exceeding the maximum daily dose set by Health Canada for the various artificial sweeteners on the market.

”Diet” drinks should not be consumed every day!

Milk, dairy beverages and slighlty sweetened yogurt drinks

Milk and soy beverages provide the body with protein, vitamins and minerals. They are nutritional drinks that can be consumed on a daily basis.

Beware of their flavoured versions (e.g. chocolate milk or beverage),which are sometimes very high in sugar.

Tips: 

  • in a blender, add a few small fruits or some cocoa to milk or plain yogurt and, if needed, a little suga
  • when you choose milk or a sweet flavoured milk beverage, serve a smaller size and dilute it with plain milk.

Flavored milk and dairy beverages should not be drunk every day.

Fruit juice

Unlike “fake” juice (e.g., beverages, cocktails, punches), pure fruit juice has a certain nutritional value and provides the body with vitamins and minerals.

However, as they are high in natural sugars and calories, it is best to drink them in moderation and in small servings.

One serving of fruit juice corresponds to 1/2 cup (125 ml). The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends limiting pure fruit juices to a maximum of 120mL per day for children.i

Not everyday and small servings.


i Canadian Pediatric Society (2017). Healthy eating for children. Juice and water. Consulted on July 6, 2107.

Vegetable juice

High in vitamins and minerals and lower in sugar than fruit juice, vegetable or tomato juice is generally a good option if you are looking to vary what you drink.

Opt for versions with the least salt and in small formats.

You can also make them yourself at home with your favourite vegetables.

Beware : some commercial vegetable juices, that are sweetened by adding fruit juice and contain more free sugars.

Tip: served in a cup, broth can be an excellent accompaniment to meals, in addition to warming you up. Opt for versions with the least salt or make your own at home.

Low salted vegetable juice and broth can be consumed on a daily basis.

The Tchin-tchin Challenge and the Mr. FunWater Challenge

For the Canadian Water Week, during the third week of March, Elementary Schools highlight the importance of consuming water during the Tchin-Tchin Challenge. Daycares and CPEs did this similarly during the Mr. FunWater Challenge, which was an adapted version for young children.

During these fun Challenges, children bring water along in their lunches, participate in educational activities and toast together to help increase the value of drinking water together.

How can my child participate?

Invite your child’s daycare or school to discover the Challenge site and all the other resources available at thirstyforhealth.ca.

Your child eats lunch at home? You can easily participate! During the Water Week, serve the entire family water at the beginning of your meals and participate in the Tchin-tchin together. This simple festive gesture is meant to promote the value  of water consumption at mealtimes. At the end of the Challenge, reward your child with a personalized participation certificate.


Free water, at your fingertips!

When you are away from home it’s not always easy to find water to quench your thirst. To help you find places where you can access free drinking water while you’re out and about, check out the maps below.

Find a water source

Download our promotional water tools for at home use

A house that promotes the value of water consumption

It is possible to make simple gestures that stimulate a child’s thought process to consume water more often.

To learn more >

A few ideas to help increase water consumption

Get inspirited by these ideas to help develop tasty water options for your family and encourage healthier choices.

To learn more >

Sugary drinks are not for everyday!

Consuming sugary drinks on a daily basis has been associated with a multitude of health issues. Avoid drinking these beverages, especially on a daily basis. Make more room for water products and minimize the space for sugar drinks (punches or fruity cocktails, iced teas, soft drinks, flavoured dairy products, slushes, etc.) and juices, is a successful health strategy. Many healthy alternatives exist which can guide you  in slowly eliminating the consumption of sugary drinks at home.

To learn more >