Wondering if kids can drink root beer?
While this refreshing beverage is a favorite among many teens and adults, what about younger children?
In this article, I’ll take a deep dive into the world of root beer to help you learn more about whether or not it’s safe for kids. Let’s dig in!
Can Kids Drink Root Beer?
Yes, kids can drink nonalcoholic root beer. It’s a type of soft drink that doesn’t typically contain alcohol, making it safe for children. However, like any other sweet beverage, it should be consumed in moderation.
Drinking root beer or any carbonated soft drink too often can lead to health problems, such as tooth decay and obesity, due to their high sugar content. Therefore, I always make sure to limit how often my kids drink root beer or any other sugary drinks.
That said, you can find sugar free or diet versions of root beer that are better for your kids, but these contain artificial sweeteners than are widely debated in the medical community.
Is Root Beer Safe for Kids?
Yes, root beer is generally safe for kids. Unlike energy drinks like GFuel or Celsius, kids should have no problems drinking soda in moderation.
However, just because something is safe doesn’t always mean it’s the best choice. Remember, root beer is a type of soft drink, which means it’s high in sugar.
High sugar content not only contributes to obesity but also cavities. These are concerns that parents like me should always keep in mind when allowing their kids to drink root beer or any other soft drinks.
Root Beer Ingredients
Root beer was traditionally made from the root or bark of the sassafras tree or sassafras root. Other natural ingredients often found in root beer recipes include burdock root, sarsaparilla root, and dandelion root.
Modern commercial root beer, like Barq’s root beer or Father’s Root Beer, often uses artificial flavors and sweeteners instead of natural ones, along with carbon dioxide for carbonation.
Here are some of the most common ingredients you’ll find in root beer.
- Sassafras Root: This is the ingredient that gives root beer its distinctive flavor. Traditionally, the root bark of the sassafras tree was used in the brewing process, but because of health concerns over a compound called safrole, commercial root beers today use a safrole-free sassafras extract.
- Sarsaparilla Root: Sarsaparilla, similar to sassafras, was commonly used in old root beer recipes for its unique flavor. It’s a tropical plant that’s also believed to have health benefits.
- Birch Bark: This ingredient is traditionally used for its sweet, minty flavor. It gives root beer a pleasant aroma and a slightly wintergreen taste.
- Wintergreen: Speaking of wintergreen, this plant, also known as Eastern Teaberry, is often used in root beer for its minty flavor and aroma.
- Vanilla: A classic ingredient in many sweet treats, vanilla is often used in root beer to provide a smooth, creamy undertone.
- Anise: Known for its licorice-like flavor, anise adds depth and complexity to root beer.
- Molasses or Brown Sugar: These give root beer its dark color and caramelized, sweet flavor.
- Yeast: This is used in the fermentation process for homemade root beer, contributing to the carbonation. Note, commercial root beers typically use carbon dioxide for carbonation and don’t undergo fermentation.
Is Root Beer Healthy or Good for You?
As a mother, one of my main responsibilities is to ensure my kids are consuming healthy foods and beverages. So, is root beer healthy?
In short, root beer isn’t a healthy drink. It’s a sweet, carbonated soft drink that is generally free of caffeine but high in sugar.
Too much sugar isn’t good for anyone, especially growing children. Regularly consuming high-sugar beverages like root beer can lead to health issues like obesity and tooth decay – which nobody wants. As such, it’s best to treat root beer as an occasional treat, rather than a regular beverage.
How Much Sugar is in Root Beer?
Root beer, like many other soft drinks, does contain a significant amount of sugar.
On average, a 12-ounce can of root beer can contain up to 40 grams of sugar. This is equivalent to around 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is nearly the daily recommended limit for children and adults.
Excessive consumption of sugary drinks like root beer can contribute to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. For those trying to limit their sugar intake, it’s important to remember that root beer should be consumed in moderation and treated as an occasional treat, not a regular beverage.
Is Root Beer Gluten Free?
As a general rule, most root beers are gluten-free, making them a suitable choice for individuals following a gluten-free diet.
The primary ingredients in root beer, including carbonated water, cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, and the various natural or artificial flavorings, typically do not contain gluten.
However, it’s crucial to always check the labels, as some brands may use additives or flavorings that contain gluten. If you or your child has celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, double-checking the label and possibly reaching out to the manufacturer for confirmation is the safest course of action.
When consumed in moderation, root beer can be part of a balanced diet. However, the high sugar content means it shouldn’t be the go-to drink for your children.
Alternatives such as water, milk, or 100% fruit juice are healthier options for regular consumption. Enjoying a root beer now and then as a special treat is perfectly fine, but it’s important to instill good beverage choices in kids from a young age.
What is Hard Root Beer?
Recently hitting the shelves, hard root beer is a craft beverage that combines the nostalgic taste of classic root beer with the buzz of an alcoholic drink.
This spin-off provides a grown-up twist to a childhood favorite, giving it the ability to satisfy the most discerning palates.
Hard root beer, unlike the traditional root beer we typically serve to children, contains alcohol and is therefore unsafe for kids. Its alcohol content is similar to that of most beers, ranging anywhere from 4-6%. Its sweet, familiar taste can be deceiving, making it hard to realize you’re actually consuming an alcoholic beverage.
Because of this, it’s vital to clearly differentiate between hard root beer and its non-alcoholic counterpart. .
The labeling and alcohol warnings on hard root beer are typically clear, but extra caution should be exercised to prevent it from falling into the hands of children. Always read labels attentively and keep these beverages out of kids’ reach to avoid any accidental underage drinking.
How to Make Your Own Root Beer
If the list of artificial ingredients in commercial root beer worries you, consider the rewarding endeavor of making your own root beer at home!
By doing so, you gain control over what goes into your beverage and can make healthier choices for your family.
Homemade root beer relies on natural components such as sassafras extract, vanilla, and root beer extract, which are usually available in health food stores or online. Adding your choice of sweetener, like honey or maple syrup, gives you control over the amount and type of sugar used, reducing reliance on high-fructose corn syrup found in many commercial drinks.
Making your own root beer isn’t just about creating a healthier version of the popular soft drink; it’s also a great family activity.
It offers an opportunity to get the kids involved in a fun and educational experience.
They can learn about the ingredients, participate in the preparation, and best of all, enjoy the rewarding taste of their homemade root beer. This can lead to more questions about where food comes from and how different ingredients create unique flavors—turning a fun afternoon project into a delightful learning experience.
Here’s a great video explaining how to make root beer with your kids!
Does root beer have caffeine?
No, most brands of root beer are typically caffeine-free. It is one of the few soft drinks that children can enjoy without the added stimulation of caffeine. However, it’s always best to check the label, as some boutique or artisanal brands might include caffeine.
Does root beer have alcohol?
Generally, commercial root beer does not contain alcohol and is classified as a non-alcoholic beverage. There are some exceptions, though. “Hard” root beer is an alcoholic variant, but it’s clearly labeled and sold as such. Always be sure to check the label to be certain.
Can 10 year olds drink root beer?
Absolutely, 10-year-olds can enjoy root beer. It’s a popular soft drink among children, often enjoyed at parties or as a special treat. Remember, while it’s caffeine and typically alcohol-free, it’s still a sugary drink, so it’s best to consume in moderation.
Can 9 year olds drink root beer?
Yes, 9-year-olds can drink root beer soda. But just like any other soda, you should drink in moderation to avoid the sugar or artificial sweeteners that can cause negative health affects.
As with most things, moderation is key when it comes to root beer.
An occasional root beer won’t harm your child, but regular consumption of sugary drinks is not recommended.
Always be mindful of the sugar content and remember that water, milk, and 100% fruit juice are usually better choices for kids.
When you do choose to let your kids drink root beer, consider going for brands that use natural ingredients or try making your own. And always double-check to make sure you’re not picking up hard root beer by mistake.
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