Foods to keep your toddler hydrated! Kids may not always meet their hydration needs through water alone. Creative ways to hydrate toddlers and water-rich foods for babies.
If your toddler prefers carrying around their stuffed animal over a water bottle all day, don’t worry! Hydration doesn’t only have to come from water or other fluids.
Here’s a recap of hydration basics for toddlers, plus healthy hydrating foods that can help yours meet their daily fluid needs.
Why Hydration Matters
Water is an essential nutrient for survival. In fact, 45-75% of your body weight is made of water.
Even a body water loss of 1-2% can have some serious consequences, including cognitive impairment.
Water is necessary for many bodily functions like:
- Regulating your body temperature
- Providing lubrication to your joints and organs
- Supporting optimal function of your heart and circulatory system
- Providing structure to your cells and tissues, and
- Moving nutrients throughout your body
How Much Fluid Does My Toddler Need?
Many factors determine how much water your kids will need, such as age, sex, and activity level.
Note that total hydration needs refers to hydration that comes from a combination of water, other fluids, and moisture-rich foods in your child’s diet.
Daily Fluid Needs for Kids
Toddlers, 1-3 yrs old: 6 cups (1300 mL) TOTAL/day
→ 4 cups (900 mL) of this should come from water
School-Age Kids, 4-8 yrs old: 7 cups (1700 mL) TOTAL/day
→ 5 cups (1200 mL) of this should come from water
We know from experience that getting a toddler to happily down 4 cups of water in a day isn’t always realistic.
Thankfully, most fruits and vegetables are high in water content and can also be counted when looking at overall water intake.
Foods to Keep Your Toddler Hydrated
What kinds of water-rich foods does your child like to eat?
You’ll probably realize that they already consume a lot of foods that can count toward their daily hydration goals.
Some of our favorites include:
- Cucumber served sliced on toast or with hummus dip
- Tomato sauce on pizza
- Zucchini spiraled into zoodles with pasta sauce and whole-grain noodles
- Strawberries blended into smoothies
- Watermelon served frozen in popsicles
- Cantaloupe or other in-season melons blended into agua fresca
- Bell peppers served sliced with a cashew cheese dip
- Celery thinly sliced and slathered with nut butter
Signs of Dehydration in Toddlers
As important as it is to make sure your child is getting enough fluid, it’s also important to know what to look for in terms of dehydration symptoms.
For babies, this may look like:
- Decline in wet diapers
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Dry mouth
- Inelastic skin
- Lack of tears
And for toddlers, signs can include:
- Dark colored urine or decrease in urine output
- Parched lips
- Dry mouth
- Cold or dry skin
- Low energy levels and fatigue
As adults, being thirsty is actually an indication that you’re already a bit dehydrated. Kids may not be able to recognize this quite yet, so it’s important to continue offering hydrating foods along with water throughout the day.
Foods to keep your toddler hydrated may already be in your household rotation. But if not, we hope you find these creative ways to hydrate toddlers helpful! Try offering water-rich foods for babies throughout the day to help meet their needs.
Chime in: What hydrating foods does your child currently enjoy? What others could you offer?
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