In the last few weeks, we have seen many people debating on health drink brands, thanks to influencer Revant Himatsingka. He had posted a video slamming a popular health drink brand and ridiculing the health claims made by it on its packaging. He said that by giving the drink to their children, parents are getting their kids “addicted to sugar” at a young age. He deleted the video after reportedly getting a legal notice from the brand. But his video has made many question the nutritional value of packaged health drinks. If you also have doubts about them, switch them with natural health drinks for children.
Health Shots got in touch with Shruti Keluskar, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Pune, to know all about health drinks.
Sugar in health drinks
The expert says that in one of the health drink brands, the ingredients include sugar, cocoa solids, caramel colour, emulsifiers to increase the shelf life and artificial flavours. It also includes liquid glucose and maltodextrin which are different names of sugar. She notes that if one adds it up, every 100 gram of this product has about 37 gram of sugar.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), eating sugar in excess can make you gain weight and cause tooth decay. While there is natural sugar found in fruits and milk, the type of sugars that people generally eat too much of are free sugars. That means they are sugars that are added to food and drinks. Right from biscuits to chocolate to breakfast cereals to aerated drinks, they all have free sugars. As per NHS, children who are aged between 7 and 10 should have no more than 24 gram of free sugars a day.
The expert says that when kids consume sugar, there is a physiologic response in the body. The body generates insulin to control blood sugar levels and the brain releases dopamine, which is a feel-good chemical that can temporarily enhance mood. However, having an excessive amount of sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which causes diabetes.
Natural health drinks for children
If you want to replace packaged drinks with healthier ones then go natural this summer. Here are some recipes!
1. Mango lassi
Keluskar says that eating seasonal fruits is always good. So, use mango, a summer fruit favourite, with hung curd to prepare mango lassi.
• Mango – 1/2 cup
• Hung curd – 3/4th cup
• Coconut milk – 1/4th cup
• A pinch of cardamom
• Chopped nuts for garnish
• Honey/jaggery -1 teaspoon
• Take a blender, and add in the mangoes, hung curd, coconut milk, honey and cardamom to it.
• Blend until it is smooth and mixed well.
• Pour the lassi in a glass, top it up with some nuts and serve.
2. Make your own malt
You can make a fresh healthy malt by yourself without any harmful preservatives or loads of sugar.
• Whole chana – 1/4th cup
• Whole wheat – 1/4th cup
• Sprouted whole moong – 1/4th cup
• Walnuts – ¼ cup
• Almonds – ¼ cup
• Dry dates – ¼ cup
• Take whole chana, wheat and moong and sun dry them for two hours.
• Follow it by dry roasting all the ingredients nicely till they turn golden brown.
• Grind them into a dry powder and store it into an air tight container.
• Your fresh malt is ready to be served with warm or cold milk.
3. Sattu sherbet
Sattu provides energy and hydration, which are two key concerns moms have when it comes to their kids. It also supports digestion, says the expert.
• Chana sattu – 1 cup (100 gms)
• Lemon – 2
• Powdered jaggery – 1 tablespoon
• Fresh mint leaves – 6 to 7
• Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
• Black salt – 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
• Take sattu in a bowl then add some water and whisk well.
• Add 1 cup of water to it.
• Add black salt, powdered jaggery and lemon juice.
• Mix them well and serve.
4. Nut shake
A simple nut and seed mix makes for a nourishing drink.
• Almonds – 6 to 7
• Walnuts – 2
• Milk – 1 cup
• Oats – 2 teaspoon
• Chia seeds – Half teaspoon
• Pumpkin seeds – Half teaspoon
• Cinnamon powder – a pinch
• Take a high power blender and add milk, almonds, walnuts, oats, and cinnamon powder to it.
• Blend this for a minute on high or until it turns into a fine creamy smoothie.
• Pour this into a glass and top it with the healthy seeds.
You can also give your child fresh fruit juices instead of the ones that come in juice boxes.