Choosing the right drink at breakfast time is just as important as having healthy food on your plate. When it comes to children, what they drink can greatly affect how many calories they consume and the amount of calcium their bodies get.

Popular sugary drinks such as fizzy soda, squash and concentrated juice provide no nutritional benefits, but do add excess calories to a child’s breakfast. Sports drinks, although containing ingredients to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating, are not suitable for breakfast time as they are high in sugar.

So what should a child have to drink at breakfast time?

Milk – Milk is a classic breakfast drink option for children. A 200ml cup of semi- skimmed milk contains 247mg of calcium and 194mg of phosphorous; these nutrients are essential for building strong bones and protecting tooth enamel. Milk is also naturally sweet and contains the least damaging type of all sugars - lactose. Milk is good source of protein, it is low calorie and low sugar - just remember to pick a low fat variety milk if you are an adult.

Water – Water is the healthiest drink anyone can have to start the day and, while it’s not packed full of flavour and nutrients, it’s the ultimate drink for keeping a body hydrated. Staying hydrated is key to making sure our bodies function properly and stay energised – plus water contains zero calories. Water is a great drink option during and after breakfast as it can help to fill our stomachs and keep us feeling full throughout the morning.

Juice – Fruit and vegetable juice can be a healthy breakfast drink option for a child. 100% pure fruit and vegetable juice, although high in sugar, contains only natural sugar from the fruit or vegetable and also contain an array of vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for a child. However, the process of extracting juice means that a child does not get the benefit and protection from the fibre and bulk of the fruit, so is therefore exposed to the sugar it contains. For a child it is recommended that you limit a 100% fruit or vegetable juice to 150ml per day and you dilute the juice 50/50 with water.

Smoothie - Smoothies are a healthy way for a child to stay hydrated and get a delicious boost of nutrients in a drink. They are easy and fun to make and a great way to teach a child about the ingredients needed to make a healthy breakfast. There is such an exciting variety of healthy ingredients to put into a  morning smoothies and they can provide a good source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

To make a nutritious smoothie you should include the following parts:

1) A base – water, ice, milk, coconut milk, almond milk, coconut water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice

2) The greens – kale, spinach, lettuce, chard

3) The fruit - fresh or frozen – banana, apple, mango, pineapple, pear, strawberries, peach, avocado

4) Nutrition boost – oats, flaxseeds, chia seeds, nut butters, cinnamon, low fat yoghurt

Remember: a healthy drink is a vital part of a child's breakfast, not only will it provide hydration, but it will also boost the nutritional absorption of the meal.