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Health Watch: How to get your kids to drink plain water

(WEAR) - Ideally children need to drink six to eight cups of water a day.

But what if your child told you, "I'm allergic to water" and refused to drink a drop of plain H-2-O?

That's what Channel Three's Kathryn Daniel has faced for years with one of her kids.

Doctors share they're expertise on how to end the water war and what to choose when it's simply not on the menu.

Christy Nguyn is a clinical dietitian at the women and children's hospital at Sacred Heart.

Parents often ask her how to get their kids to drink, and enjoy plain water.

She says many health professionals, including herself, wonder in our landscape of over-sweet beverages and artificial flavors.

"What does a regular apple taste like to a kid who drinks sugary drinks all the time?"

Nguyn agreed to go through some of the most common drink choices families face.

First up, concentrated, artificially sweetened water drops, that are flavored and calorie free.

Nguyn isn't a fan of any kind of fake sweetener.

"Because even though the F.D.A says that they are safe for human use, there haven't really been any long term studies on children," she said.

Nguyn says that make children dependent on fake flavors.

She said, "If you get used to drinking really sweet things all the time, you become accustomed to it and you constantly crave these things."

Sweet or unsweet tea? Nguyn says neither.

She says children twelve and under shouldn't have caffeine at all.

It can cause rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and caffeine leaches calcium from growing bones.

So, how about caffeine free tea sweetened naturally with local honey?

Nguyn says while the honey may help with allergies, "it still is mostly made of sugar so the body is gonna use it the same way as it would the refined sugar."

Soda or chocolate milk?

Nguyn says water should always be the first option, but if you're at a restaurant with a stubborn child, "chocolate milk is still gonna be a better option that the soda."

Soda or lemonade? "You'll get some Vitamin C from the lemons, so probably go with the lemonade," Nguyn said.

What if you're at birthday party and only soft drinks are offered. Dark cola or clear soda?

"Dark colas tend to be more acidic," and harder on a small stomach.

How about sport drinks? They're often the only option at team snack time.

Nguyn said, "Sports drinks are actually not necessary for the general population." She says only elite athletes require them.

One option she does endorse is all natural sparkling water.

"Sometimes what you are really craving is just that crispness from the carbonation," Nguyn said.

Nguyn says there are a few things parents can do to make good old plain water more appealing. She recommends serving it ice cold, and flavor it with fruit slices.

Buy a BPA free water bottle and have your child set daily water goals, but don't set your family up for a beverage rebellion by going cold turkey.

"Might work for a few hours, a few days, but eventually we start to crave things and we start to fall off the wagon," Nguyn said.