I’ve noticed there has been some chat on Netmums around drinks for young children and in particular the value of Fruit Shoot. My heart goes out to mums over all the anguish around what to give young children to drink – we mums are meant to understand so much!
I wish this communication was around when my girls were young – they are teenagers now so I should probably find a site to help me!
Being a qualified nutritionist helps me in one area at least when it comes to being a mum! My advice is that pre school children need to be encouraged to drink a little and often – the best choices would be milk, diluted fruit juice andwater but well diluted squashes are fine for this very young group too. All Robinsons drinks are free from artificial flavours and colours.
The issues are different once they start school, mainly because they often then do not drink enough – they are simply too busy with all their activities, can’t be bothered or don't like what’s on offer. This is where drinks like Fruit Shoot, designed for on-the-go, can play a valuable role.
When it comes to ingredients and making choices – you do need to consider the needs of your child at that particular time and in the context of what they are doing that day. To me it’s all about variety – we tend to go for the 100% juice at breakfast or lunch - because it’s a convenient way of having one of your five a day. If I want my girls to have some energy as well as good hydration – such as when they come out of school and go straight to a sports activity I'm happy for them to have drinks with some sugar such as a regular Robinsons squash or a Fruit Shoot.
When it’s purely hydration they need (sometimes this can be mistaken for hunger!) then they might go for an artificial sweetened drink. I think artificial sweeteners are overly criticised and misunderstood. They can actually have a very valuable role in making great tasting products which are virtually calorie free. The sweetener aspartame is one of the most thoroughly tested ingredients of all time (just last month another report from the European Food Safety Association, has once again given it the all clear). In reality aspartame brings nothing new to the diet. It is made up of two amino acids –which are the building blocks of protein – and you will find these amino acids naturally occurring in many foods. The amino acids are incredibly sweet – in fact these same amino acids are found in breast milk and they contribute to its sweetness - so only a very small amount is needed to be added to drinks to get some sweetness.
As with all things its balance and moderation and helping your children to make good choices – simply banning a food can often make it even more desirable.
One final point I wanted to touch on that was raised in the Netmums forum was the ingredients in Fruit Shoot. A list of the ingredients was posted in the forum; however this was actually an outdated list as none of the Fruit Shoot products contain sodium benzoate.
If you’d like to have more information on the Robinsons range, or ingredients, click here and do please get in touch if you want more advice.