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Suitable drinks for children

Plain water and milk are the most suitable drinks for children.

If choosing other drinks read the label to check the sugar level, ideally choose no added or low-sugar options.

If you are unsure about whether a drink contains added sugar, check the ingredients list. Less common terms for sugar that may appear on the ingredients list are sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose and syrup.

Find out more about what to look out for on food and drinks labels.

Tips on how to cut down on sugary drinks

  1. If your family loves soft drinks or other sweetened drinks, reduce them gradually.
  2. Start by adding plenty of water to cordials and squashes.
  3. Add extra water each time to squashes and cordials to reduce your child’s taste for sweetness.
  4. Keep sweetened drinks for the weekend.
  5. Make water freely available between meals.
  6. Water is tastier when it’s cold: put a jug of water in the fridge
  7. Add a slice of lime, lemon or orange to give it flavour and colour.
  8. Make it fun, use colourful cups and straws

The low down on suitable drinks.

Limit the drinks below to a small glass once a day, and its best to have them at mealtimes.

  • Unsweetened fruit juice or fruit juice from concentrate with no added sugar)
  • Flavoured milk - choose brands that are lower in sugar Diluted sugar-free squash
  • Yoghurt or milk drinks - choose brands that are lower in sugar
  • Smoothies - homemade using whole fruit are best
  • Fruit juice drink (unsweetened)

These drinks don’t provide important nutrients and are not tooth friendly:

  • Fruit Juice drink (sweetened)
  • Fizzy drinks (including diet versions)
  • Sugary drinks include fizzy drinks, squashes, cordials and juice drinks. 

Compare drinks

Use our checker to see the sugar content

Image of drinks bottles

This is based on our sugar poster

The facts about your drink

Always Check the Label for Sugar Content.

We recommend water and milk as the best drinks for all ages.

Here’s a link to our infographic about sugary drinks.

Milk and water image

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