The Best & Worst Drinks For Your Child’s Lunch

packs of soda bottles in closeup over white background

The Best & Worst Drinks For Your Child’s Lunch

Summer is officially over and school’s in session. Waking up early with your kids to get them ready for the day can be grueling, but is one of the most rewarding parts of your morning.

Getting together their lunch box with their favorite snacks, sandwich, and of course, topping it off with a well-deserved treat is the best way to ensure that your child is getting a nutritious and delicious meal. You rush the family out the door to get the kids to school before the bell rings, only to realize that you forgot a drink.

Don’t fret.

There are many healthy beverage vending options in schools across the US, but which are best for your kids?

We have compiled a list of the best and worst drinks that your kids can from their school’s beverage vending machine.



Water is the ideal drink for anyone at any age. Although it may not be the most interesting though the eyes of your child, it should be stressed as a vital part of a great, daily diet.

One way to ensure that your child always gets their daily serving of water, pack a reusable bottle in their backpack. All schools at all levels have drinking fountains that will make it easy for your children to stay hydrated.

Let your children choose the color of the bottle or add stickers to it to help make it their own. It will make drinking water more fun for them.


Milk is a great beverage choice for your children. It is typically only offered in high school cafeterias, making it a more affordable option. Most schools can only sell flavored milks to high school students, which is unfortunate for the little ones. Milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which will help your children get the nutrients they need.

If your child is an athlete, they may want to skip milk. Many children and young adults are sensitive to milk, especially when exercising. To combat this issue, ensure that they understands to choose a lower percentage milk, like 1% milk, 2% milk, reduced fat, or fat free milk. They will still get the nutritional benefits, without the heaviness from whole milk.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are great for kids, but in moderation. In the past, beverage vending machines were stocked with large bottles of sports drinks that are packed with multiple servings. In most schools, we are now seeing a smaller 12oz bottle that has only one serving. Let your child know that these drinks are a great option, but in moderation.

If your child is an athlete, or you live in a hot or humid area, these drinks contain sodium, potassium, and chloride, which are the elements lost from sweating. Energy drinks are a great way for your child to combat the heat and stay performing at their best during practice.

Juice & Tea

Juice is a great option for children. Many laws and ordinances have been passed to help reduce the options of juices that include unhealthy amounts of sugar in school beverage vending machines.

Talk with your children to ensure that they understand that the best juice options contain 100% fruit juice. This will ensure that your children are getting a concentrated source of fructose.

In most high schools, reduced calorie teas and non carbonated drinks are found in vending machines. Low or reduced calorie teas are a great option for your children. Teas are known to provide many health benefits to help combat heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.



As you probably already know, soda is one of the worst beverage options for your children. Most sodas have little to no nutrient value, high calorie content, harmful dyes, and even high levels of caffeine. With regular consumption, this can cause harm to the health and well-being of your child.

Diet Sodas are approved in high schools by the USDA. Although they are approved, they are still not the best choice for your growing children.

Soda is ok for children on special occasions, but not as an everyday beverage.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks have gained major popularity recently, but these drinks should be far away from your child’s lunch box. They are packed with sugar, caffeine, and other substances that are terrible for growing children. Some energy drinks contain harmful acids that can damage the enamel of growing teeth.

Forgetting to pack your child’s beverage in their lunch box isn’t something to stress over. Many beverage vending machines at schools now offer more healthy drinks than ever before. We hope that this guide of the best and worst beverage vending machine options will help you help your child make the right decision at school.