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What Should Preschoolers Drink?

The best drinks for preschoolers — and for kids of all ages — are milk and water. Whenever possible, discourage your kids from drinking soda and other sugary, calorie-dense drinks as thirst-quenchers because water or milk will do the job just as well.

Preschoolers should consume 2 to 2½ cups (480-360 milliliters) of low-fat or nonfat milk (or equivalent dairy products) every day.

Now is the time to get kids into the habit of drinking milk so they can get bone-building calcium and vitamin D and other important nutrients they need. Limit flavored milks, but if you do serve it, avoid premixed chocolate or strawberry drinks, which often contain considerably more calories, sugar, and fat than milk you flavor yourself. For kids who don't drink milk, calcium-fortified soy milk is a good alternative.

Avoid juice drinks and limit 100% juice — which has a significant amount of sugar — to no more than one serving, about 4-6 ounces (120-180 milliliters) a day. Too much juice can contribute to excess weight gain, diarrhea, and tooth decay.


Water 8 ounces (240 ml) 0 0 g
Low-fat milk 8 ounces (240 ml) 100 11 g
100% orange juice 8 ounces (240 ml) 110 22 g
Juice drink (10% fruit juice) 8 ounces (240 ml) 150 38 g
Powdered drink mix (with sugar added) 8 ounces (240 ml) 90 24 g

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