Water has been on my mind a lot lately. The town I live in, Concord, Massachusetts, recently became the first place in the country to ban the sale of bottled water in plastic containers. Just days after the vote at our annual town meeting a major water main broke two towns away sending over 2 million residents of eastern Massachusetts (including Boston) scrambling for ... you guessed it: bottled water in plastic containers.
Actually, safe drinking water has been on my mind for a long time, ever since lead was found in the drinking fountains at the seven of our schools (including the one my sons attended), prompting me to lead a successful effort by a group of concerned parents to force the board of health and school committee to turn off the drinking fountains until new water pipes could be installed, and a lead testing program started.
To be on the safe side, I sent my kids to school with re-usable plastic bottles filled with filtered tap water. I still drink nothing but filtered tap water, but now I pour it into a stainless steel bottle. Not only does this save money, of course, but it is much better for the environment, saving not only space in the local landfill, but the energy (and oil) it takes to make all those plastic bottles.
Over the past ten years, MomsTeam has worked hard to educate parents about the importance of keeping kids well hydrated during sports, whether it be with plain water or sports drinks. While we have long recommended that parents have their children drink from their own re-usable water bottle, we haven't focused on the question of whether whether our kids, our bank accounts, and our environment might just be a lot better off if, instead of sending our kids to practices and games with big plastic bottles of sports drinks we buy at the store, we buy one stainless steel bottle for each of our kids and fill it with a homemade sports drink. Perhaps it is time for parents to at least consider alternatives to throw-away plastic bottles and store-bought sports drinks.
One of the readers commenting on the Globe story about the Concord plastic water bottle ban was quick to point out that the ban had to be the work of an 82-year-old activitist with "way too much time on her hands" and couldn't possibly have been the idea of Concord's "soccer moms", because they all sent their kids off to sports games or practices with water bottles, juice boxes, and sports drinks that weren't the least bit eco-friendly.
I don't think the generalization was fair, but I would love to hear what MomsTeam nation thinks. How do you keep your kids hydrated for sports while protecting the environment? Do you have a recipe for a homemade sports drink you'd be willing to share? Send your ideas to delench@MomsTeam.com and we'll post them on the site under a new topic we have added to the Sports Hydration Center on the Nutrition Channel called Homemade Sports Drink Recipes.