What does your child need?


Water and tea

Children come into contact with a lot of fattening foods, and as a result, they may eat too much. If your child drinks water and tea, you prevent them from consuming too many extra calories and sugars.

But drinking water and tea has plenty of other advantages too:

  • These drinks don’t get your children used to sweet flavours.
  • There’s no need to buy water; tap water is just as clean and fresh as bottled water. And it’s cheaper too.
  • Drinking water is not bad for the teeth. Sweet drinks increase the risk of caries.

Did you know

that children often forget to drink, especially if they are playing and having fun?

When children don’t drink enough, they tend to get tired and they struggle to focus. So it’s important to encourage your child to drink enough water and tea.

Thomas, father of Tim (3 years old):

Last year, a lot changed in Tim’s toddler group. Now the children are served only water. I thought it was ridiculous. Water may be good for dogs, but surely not for children. Tim hated water and I was worried he would become dehydrated in that hot weather. Luckily, I had a good chat with the carers in his toddler group. We looked at the sugar Tim was consuming with all those juices he used to drink. I was shocked. So I started diluting his juices with water, which allowed him to slowly get used to a less sweet flavour.

Make your own flavoured water

Is your child not a fan of water? Try offering lukewarm tea in several flavours. Or why not make your own flavoured water? Discover how easy it is!

  1. Rinse a piece of fruit or a vegetable.
  2. Cut it into large chunks.
  3. Place these chunks of fruit or vegetable in an empty bottle or jug.
  4. Add water and let it sit for at least one hour.

A few tasty combinations are:

  • Lemon and cucumber
  • Grapes and mint
  • Orange and cinnamon
  • Mint and lemon

Discover other tasty combinations here


You don’t need to use fresh fruit. Frozen fruit works just as well and is often cheaper.

Did you know

it’s better to eat fruit than to drink it?

All fruit juices contain sugar, even when the packaging says “without added sugars”. After all, fruit itself contains natural sugars. One glass of juice is made using at least three pieces of fruit, for example three oranges. Since the fruit is pressed, it hardly contains any dietary fibre, which is very healthy. Eating fruit instead of drinking it is also more filling because it contains more of this fibre, so you will be less tempted to eat other things.

Light drinks: yes or no?

Light drinks, such as light soft drinks or juices, have less calories and sugar than regular drinks. But these light drinks are not ideal either, because they contain acids, which are bad for the teeth. Light drinks also get your child used to a sweet taste.


To help you, the Netherlands Nutrition Centre has developed several tools:

  • Healthy food for your baby and toddler: this section of the website contains a lot of tips for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It also includes tips on food-related raising, for example on what to do if your child is a fussy eater and refuses to try new foods.
  • Examples of meal plans for babies and toddlers: these meal plans give you an idea of what your child can eat and drink in a day and in which quantities.
  • The food pyramid: this tool, which consists of five food and drink categories, can help you put together a healthy and varied meal plan. Check which products you eat regularly.