The school day has officially ended. You’re probably inclined to order that triple shot latte from Starbucks to get you through the afternoon. Odds are, you won’t do the same for your child. However, caffeine may be lurking in your child’s after-school snack as well. Studies show that three-fourths of children in the United States consume caffeine daily. The stimulant can appear in the form of sodas, energy drinks, teas, and other products. Though the occasional caffeinated treat is innocuous, regular consumption can be detrimental to your child’s health. Click here for 8 Caffeine-Free Breakfast Dishes That Will Boost Your Energy.
A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that even small doses (under 100 mg) can have adverse effects. Caffeine is proven to slow heart rate and raise blood pressure in all ages, and is found to have an even greater effect after the onset of puberty. Additionally, caffeine can cause nausea and other stomach problems, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and heart arrhythmias. So how can you ensure that your child isn’t surpassing the daily-recommended amount? Keep your eye out for these hidden sources of caffeine:
There are 13 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce hot chocolate. By limiting serving size and monitoring other caffeine intake throughout the day, kids can still enjoy this popular winter-weather treat.
There are 18 milligrams in 1.45 ounces of dark chocolate. Although dark chocolate contains antioxidants that protect against disease and bolster immunity, the caffeine content makes it a poor choice for kids. Reach for fruits and vegetables instead to get your daily dose of antioxidants.
Coffee Ice Cream
This may be no surprise by there are 68 milligrams of caffeine in eight ounces of coffee ice cream. Ever wonder why your child is bouncing off the walls before bedtime? There could be caffeine in their after dinner treat. Consider choosing a different flavor to prevent that unwanted energy burst. Better yet, give them fruit instead to keep sugar intake limited at night.
There are 82 miligrams in a citrus-flavored Vitaminwater. What may seem like a harmless fruit drink could quickly have your child feeling jittery. To cut back on caffeine, infuse water with a lemon wedge or some fresh berries.
With some extra attention and creativity, you can easily monitor your child’s caffeine intake and swap out these surprising sources for healthier options.
The accompanying slideshow is provided by fellow Daily Meal editorial staff member Dan Myers.