• Where is Caffeine Hiding in Your Child’s Diet?

  • For adults, caffeine is the life blood of the work week. But for kids, too much caffeine can cause all sorts of problems, from lack of sleep to tummy aches. Caffeine is most commonly associated with coffee or energy drinks, which most young kids don’t like and shouldn’t be drinking much of anyway. But you might be surprised to find that caffeine is hiding in some of the least likely places, and knowing where its hiding can better help you, as the adult, to control the amount of caffeine your child is consuming.

    As a reference, your average “cup o’ joe” packs in about 100 mg of caffeine. Here is a quick list of foods and drinks you might want to look out for:

    Ice Cream – Chocolate and coffee flavored ice creams are the real problem here, because a single cup can have anywhere from 30 to 45 mg of caffeine.

    Hot Chocolate – The cold weather is on the way, and hot chocolate is a seasonal favorite, but be careful how many glasses your child drinks. Popular brands have between 3 and 12 mg of caffeine.

    Green Tea Drinks – Green tea is a big provider of caffeine, and many of the usual brands you see at the grocery store pack over 100 mg per bottle.

    Dark Chocolate – An ounce and a half of dark chocolate offers up about 20 mg of caffeine. The lighter the chocolate the less caffeine, but too much of the light stuff will pack the same punch.

    Remember, caffeine can make kids impulsive and jittery. Their attention span may be shortened, and if they drink too many caffeinated foods and drinks, it can even prove to be dangerous to their health. Limit the amount of caffeine your child consumes to 100 mg per day, preferably consumed early in the day to prevent sleep problems.