Hold the lectures about mountains of sugar, tons of empty calories and loads of artificial ingredients. A new study from Belgium suggests that parents can rein in the amount of soda their kids consume with three steps. The study looked at differences between high-volume soda drinkers and low-volume drinkers, who had about 40 percent less sugary, fizzy stuff a day. What worked:
#1: Drinking something else with meals. Low-fat or fat-free milk (after age 2), water, unsweetened iced tea (herbal fruit teas are yummy) are great alternatives to the fizzy stuff. In this study, a no-soda rule at mealtimes explained about half of the difference in soda consumption between high-volume and low-volume soda drinkers.
#2: Not stocking soda at home. If it’s not there, they can’t drink it. A “no soda on board” policy explained about 16 percent of the gap between kids who drank a little or a lot of soda.
#3: Not allowing kids to drink soda whenever they want. Parents who decide when kids can have a glass of soda as a treat – and not giving in to the bottomless refills at fast-food joints and restaurants – accounts for about 30 percent of the difference between big-time soda sippers and moderate sippers, the researchers said.