Ever wonder what those hieroglyphs on the bottom of your plastic tableware mean? Though the symbols vary from product to product, they generally fall into two categories: (1) safe usage and (2) recyclability.
Safe Usage Symbols
A wine glass and fork is the international symbol for “food safe”, meaning the product is designed to be in contact with food.
When you see dishes in a shower of straight lines, the product is dishwasher safe on the top rack. This symbol can take on many forms but usually includes dishes getting sprayed with water.
Wavy lines indicate the product can be safely heated inside a microwave oven. Sometimes the symbol includes plates, bowls, or the entire microwave oven itself. No matter what the design, the squiggly lines are always present.
Snowflakes mean the product is freezer safe (and therefore snow safe!). Sometimes the actual minimum temperature limit in degrees is included.
Recycle symbols are identified by their characteristic triangular arrows circumscribing a number from 1 to 7. The numbers indicate the category of material used in the product. Generally speaking, materials enumerated 1, 2, 4, and 5 are food safe. Products made with material 1 are typically only used once, whereas products containing materials 2, 4 and 5 can be cleaned and reused. Some products with a number 7 may also be safe to use with foods.
Best Sippy Cup Materials Selection Guide – This guide compares the safest sippy cup materials including silicone, polypropylene, stainless steel, and glass.
Kids LOVE sweets, so getting them to drink more water instead of sugary drinks can be difficult. These 7 tips to will help get your kids to drink more water:
1. Infuse it with flavor and color – Add a few slices of orange, apple, lime, or other fruits and veggies to flavor the water naturally. Use a cup with a clear lid to showcase the fruits (we eat and drink with our eyes first!).
2. Keep it cool – Some kids prefer iced water. Make it extra cool with fun ice cube shapes or frozen fruits.
3. Make it easy – If you’ve ever tested one of your kid’s no-spill sippy cups then you know they can be a struggle to drink from. Toddlers only have about half an adults’ suction power, so if it’s hard for you to drink from the cup then it’s a good bet your kids are struggling too. Make it easy by using either open cups or valve-free straw cups. Make water accessible by keeping cups filled throughout the day, and leave a cup filled with water on a nightstand for nighttime and morning thirst.
4. Take it easy – The dislike of a food or drink can often be overcome by repeating tastings (5 to 10 times over 2 weeks). But too much praise or nagging can often be counterproductive. Even little kids want to feel like they’re making their own decisions.
5. Be a role model – Children often copy their parents’ behavior, so while you’re filling up their cups, be sure to top off your own glass of water too.
6. Make it fun! –Serve water in cups with cute and colorful characters, and use fun interactive straws. Fun and special cups work very well with toddlers and preschoolers.
7. Chew on it – About one-quarter of our total water intake comes from foods. So for extra hydration, focus on foods that contain lots of water such as soups or fruits & veggies (cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, watermelon, oranges, grapes, peaches, and strawberries).
Resources and References
How Much Water Should You and Your Kids Drink Each Day? Hydration Guidelines for Toddlers, Teens, Adults, and Pregnant or Nursing Moms.
The Benefits of Drinking Water
Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids, affecting functions such as circulation, temperature control, and digestion. Drinking sufficient water can reduce risk factors for constipation, kidney stones, and other chronic diseases. Drinking the right amount of water can also help control calories, keep muscles energized, and keep skin vibrant.
While pure water is one of the healthiest beverages, you will get similar levels of hydration from other non-alcoholic beverages. So adult women should generally be drinking a combined total of about 9 cups of water, tea, juice, and other beverages each day to stay hydrated.
In fact, your total water intake comes from both beverages (including tea, juice, and milk) and from foods (including soups, fruits, and veggies). This ratio is typically about 4 to 1, meaning that for every 4 cups of water you get from drinking beverages, you get about 1 more cup from the foods you eat. So if you happen to be on a liquid diet or you’re eating dried foods, you’ll need to bump up the amount of fluids you drink by about 25% to compensate.
These guidelines for adequate intake of water are meant to cover the general needs for each life stage and gender group. However, your daily water needs will vary depending on your environment (temperature & humidity), physical activity level, health, and diet.
Kids not drinking enough water? Use these 7 easy tips to get toddlers to drink more water.
Resources and References
- IOM (Institute of Medicine). Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate. The National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2005.
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water. EFSA Journal 2010, 8(3):1459. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), Parma, Italy, 2010.
- Fluid Facts for Kids. Retrieved 11/12/2015.
- Mayo Clinic. Water: How much should you drink every day. Retrieved 5/17/2016.