Pathways to Wellness

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Drink up and sip smart!

Sorting out what to drink and how much is confusing and frustrating.  It used to be that the choices were water, milk, juice or pop.  Not anymore - there are juice drinks, fruit and vegetable cocktails, energy drinks, vitamin water, sports drinks, iced teas, lemonade and probably many more!   Here's some information and tips to help you make good choices:

  • Water and milk are always good choices.  If you want a bit of flavour to a glass of water, try adding a slice of lemon, orange or cucumber.  Chocolate milk has added sugar, but on the plus side, it does contain all the vitamins and minerals found in plain milk.  So chocolate milk is okay some of the time - just don't go overboard!  And by all means stay away from milk that sounds like candy bars - these drinks are loaded with lots of extra sugar!
  • 100% juice without any added sugar is nutritious but….it's high in calories, natural sugar, and acid which can harm teeth.  Eating fruit is considered a better alternative because it is less concentrated (and therefore has less sugar and acid), contains fiber which is good for you, and is more filling.  Don't feel you need to deprive yourself or your kids of juice - just limit it to ½ cup (125 ml) per day for children, and 1 cup (250 ml) for teens and adults.   Remember juice used to be a drink that we only had with breakfast in really small glasses - and it wasn't available in vending machines in 500 ml bottles!
  • Sports drinks help replace minerals and nutrients which are lost with sweating, and have high amounts of sugar for quick energy.  If you aren't sweating, then you probably don't need a sports drink.  Sports drinks are a good choice when you are exercising for at least 60 minutes at a high intensity - that's when you are breathing so hard that you  can't even say a few words without stopping to catch your breathe.
  • When it comes to nutritional value and sugar content, anything with added sugar is pretty much that same.  Iced teas, lemonade and fruit drinks or cocktails are not really different from pop.  Choose these drinks least often. 
  • Make your own iced tea.  Many herbal teas make good iced teas.  You'll need to experiment to find ones that taste good to you when served cold.  You can always mix in a bit of 100% unsweetened juice if you like a more intense flavour. 
  • Smoothies made from some combination of yogurt (preferably low fat, or plain), fruit (frozen berries or bananas are great choices), milk and/or juice are great and filling.  Have a friendly family competition to see who comes up with the winning combination!


  • Energy drinks are the latest thing on the market.  You may have read news reports linking the death of teens with consumption of energy drinks.  The jury is still out on this issue, but no one needs energy drinks so why take the chance?

Teacher Information Bulletin on Energy Drinks  (Health Promotion)

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