Back to Cooking


Busy Cooking



Switch Those Sodas for Smoothies and Slushies
By Pamela White

Have your children joined the legions of soda junkies? They crave the sweet, caffeinated drinks morning, noon and night. Maybe they've become couch potatoes, even gaining a surprising amount of weight lately.

You are not alone in noticing changes in your children. But you may not realize the fault likely lies in the very sodas your children and, maybe, you drink daily.

Sixty percent of all middle and high schools in the United States have soft drink machines according to the National Soft Drink Association. The new trend is for schools to accept large financial grants in order to allow a particular soda brand exclusive rights to a school system.

So how much damage can a little soft drink treat do? Medical professionals warn that children drinking two to three sodas per day are prone to extensive tooth decay. The sugar in the sodas is clearly a threat to dental health. The sugar is also a culprit in increasing children's propensity to develop obesity and diabetes.

How much sugar could there be in an average 12 oz. soda? Ten teaspoons. Think of a child who drinks two to three sodas a day, which medical studies suggest is not unusual. Even children with good oral hygiene have plaque or bacteria in the mouth. The colonies of established plaque convert the sugar in all those sodas to acid. The acid eats through the tooth's natural protection, its enamel.

You can see how those two or three sodas can add up to a rapid deterioration in dental health.

A study by Dr. Grace Wyshak, published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, indicated that teenage girls who drank colas are three to five times more likely to suffer bone fractures. The link between weakened bones and soda consumption is the phosphorous used in cola drinks. Tie that in with the logical conclusion that teen girls drinking two or three colas a day are not drinking calcium-packed milk and you can see that regular soda drinking during the bone-developing years poses a serious danger to our children.

Dentists are also concerned that the phosphorous connection can weaken the jaw bone, creating possible tooth loss. Think of the sugar eating away at the enamel on the teeth, then imagine the weakened bones in the jaw -- all damaging your children's health!

Anyone worried about caffeine dependence? One 12 oz. can of cola has 35 to 38 milligrams of caffeine. An 8 oz. cup of coffee has only 28 percent of that much caffeine. Diet sodas usually have more caffeine; most non-cola drinks have caffeine added. Know anybody that really needs that cup of coffee in the morning to keep the withdrawal headache at bay and improve her personality? If we, as parents, feel the physical addition to caffeine, imagine what all the caffeine is doing to those little bodies.

Don't panic. Here are some practical ways to guide your children into making good choices and some recipes that will satisfy sweet cravings as well as provide good nutrition.

Talk to your children. Tell them "no" to sodas, then stop or cut back on your own soda drinking. Set an example by drinking lots of water and providing it to your children. Offer fruit juices, but remember they also pack a big sugar punch to teeth, so limit the juice drinks, or cut them with water. Find recipes for drinks that will provide a treat to your children without the dental damage or adding empty calories, and pounds, to your children. But the first step is to push plain, simple, healthy and inexpensive water.

My daughter, Sarah, a student at a high school whose front hallway is lined with soda machines, started purchasing a drink after school when she stayed late for sports practices. She knew my feelings about sodas, so she thought she was making a smart purchase by choosing bottles marketed as "sport drinks." It wasn't until she hopped into the car one afternoon drinking one, that I told her to read the label. She did and shocked herself. Three hundred calories in a bottle that contained water, flavoring and sugar -- several teaspoons of sugar in each bottle. I offered to buy bottled water (and refill the bottles with tap water) so she could take it from home. She also liked not having to spend her allowance on sugar water.

Creating flavorful alternatives to soda is easy. Fresh fruits can be cut up and frozen, then crushed in a blender with ice or milk. Juices can be mixed with an equal amount of seltzer water. Juice concentrates are superb sweeteners. Experiment with honey or sugar substitutes like Splenda to help wean your children from their dependence on super-sweet drinks.

In the following recipes, change the frozen fruit to your favorite frozen fruit and add or decrease any sweetener to taste.

Lemon-Blueberry Smoothie

8 oz. low fat plain yogurt

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 ice cubes

1 teaspoon honey or to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend. This smoothie has a strong, tart flavor and a beautiful purple color.

Russian Tea

3 cups steeped tea, still warm (I use Constant Comment for the added spice flavors.)

2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

Pour three cups of nearly boiling water over one tea bag. Let it steep until still warm, then add orange juice concentrate. Stir, then pour into three glasses, adding ice.

Lime-Lemon Slush-Mush

2 cups ice

1/2 cup water

2 medium limes, squeezed

1 large or 2 medium lemons, squeezed

4 tablespoons apple juice concentrate

Place ice and water into blender to break the ice into very small bits. Add lemon and lime juices, and the apple juice concentrate. By blending the ice with the water, you can use any blender to create a slush drink. Substitute the apple juice concentrate with an apple-cherry or apple-raspberry blend concentrate for a beautiful pink color. Pour into three cups or glasses; eat with a spoon if you're in a rush.

Banana-Yogurt Shake

2 bananas, peeled and wrapped in plastic, then frozen

2 - 8 oz. vanilla yogurts (or two cups vanilla yogurt)

1/3 cup milk

2 packets Splenda (or sugar or sugar substitute)

Combine all ingredients in blender and whirl into a smooth, sweet, filling calcium-packed snack for your children and you. Makes three drinks.

Pina-Colada Shake

2 - 8 oz. containers of coconut yogurt

1 banana, peeled and frozen

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup crushed pineapple

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.



Home |Shopping | Advertising | Link To Us | Sponsor a Contest |
| Media | Parent Business Directory | Direct sales Directory |

Privacy Statement. Visit our Liability Disclaimer page. BPO is for entertainment and educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of a professional. Check with your providers before following advice or content herein. ©1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. BPO is property of the Busy Family Network (BFN), All Rights Reserved. No part of the website, newsletters or other materials can be reproduced in any form without written consent. Parts of the site and materials include, but are not limited to, graphics, copy/content, HTML, Meta tags, template and web layouts or other features. Each web page and its source code is valued at $5000 US. By using any part of any page on BPO without permission, you are agreeing to pay the owner and/or the artist/writer $5,000.

Copyright 1999-2009