Earlier this month, I signed up my oldest daughter, 4, for the GO KIDS! Food Challenge. I am constantly looking for ways to get my family to eat healthier, so I thought this would be a good motivator and give us the tools to track our progress.
The four-week challenge began Nov. 9 and the first week focused on water. The challenge was to drink eight 6-8 oz. glasses of water each day. I’m not going to lie, my first thought when reading this was no way. I tend to think she does a pretty good job because I see her drinking throughout the day and she rarely is allowed any beverages other than water or milk.
But one day recently, she drank a full 12-oz. bottle on the way to the grocery store and we had to make three visits to the potty before we finished our weekly shopping. I worried if she drank that much water she’d spend the whole day in the restroom. Plus, she is in Pre-K, so I’m not around her most of the day to remind her to drink.
I checked in with Julie Simpson, a pediatric outpatient dietitian at Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center, to ensure the guidelines were correct for a 4-year-old, since the challenge is designed for kids from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Simpson said the recommended water intake varies depending on age and weight and that the pediatric dietitians at Cardon Children’s use the Holliday-Segar method to determine fluid requirements:
- 1-10 kg: 100 ml per kg for the first 10 kilograms
- 11-20 kg: 1000 ml + 50 ml per kg for each kg >10
- >20 kg 1500 ml + 20 ml/kg for each kg >20 kg
Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts and average weight to age, that would translate to 1.4 to 1.6 liters a day for children ages 5 to 8, and 1.6 to 2 liters per day for children ages 9 to 12.
For the mathematically challenged like myself, she calculated that my daughter, who weighs around 40 pounds, should drink about 1.4 liters a day – or eight 6-oz. glasses.
Simpson said up to three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk could count as a substitute for water, and certain fruits, such as watermelon, have a high water content. My kids rarely drink juice, but I asked her about that as well.
“Juice will not count for the GO KIDS! Challenge because of the high sugar content,” Simpson said. “Picking a fruit is much better!”
The challenge offers tips to help kids drink water, such as adding lemon, cucumber or orange, but my daughter made a face when I suggested this.
Here is how it went:
Day 1: I totally forgot.
Day 2: I wasn’t sure how I would track at school so I sent her with two 8-oz. bottles of water thinking that would be easier to track than her reusable bottle and she wouldn’t have to refill. This backfired. She drank about an ounce total of water and 5 oz. of milk.
Day 3: She was home for Veterans Day so I was able to nudge her throughout the day. She drank 7 oz. milk and 10 oz. water.
Day 4: She took her refillable character bottle to school and drank the full 12 oz.
Day 5: 12 oz. water.
Day 6: 4 oz. milk and 12 oz. water.
Day 7: Throughout the day she drank about 8 ounces of milk and about 18 ounces of water. The best day of the week (and coincidentally the day we spent the most time at home) but still far from where she should be.
Overall, this challenge made me realize that we need to be doing a much better job of ensuring she is drinking water throughout the day, even when we are not with her, and I will work on being more creative moving forward.
Now we start week 2, where I will try to get my kids to eat new vegetables. I’ll report back next week with the results! Sign your family up for the challenge, too, and be entered to win weekly prizes and a grand prize stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.