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Photo: Stocksy/Nabi Tang

Growing up, you probably remember heading to lunch, grabbing a tray, and getting your choice of milk: white or chocolate. (And, hello, what red-blooded kid wouldn’t jump for super-sugary chocolate when given the opportunity?) But a new study found encouraging water as the preferred beverage could prevent more than half a million children from becoming overweight or obese adults.

The study found that encouraging water consumption could prevent more than half a million children from becoming overweight or obese adults.

How to get wee ones to choose the clear lifeblood over other more-tempting beverages, though? Based on recent findings, it might actually be pretty simple. The nationwide expansion of New York City’s pilot program that ran in 1,200 elementary and middle schools from 2009 to 2013, found putting water dispensers in school cafeterias kept students majorly hydrated—so much so that their water consumption during lunch tripled.

Though water is the reigning gold standard for drinks, is curbing intake of other benefits-rich beverages, namely milk, problematic for a kid’s development? Researchers found the cutback unlikely to yield any harm—and better yet, the action resulted in a crazy-high drop in children’s saturated fat and sugar intake.

While you can’t turn back time and tell your younger self to drink more H2O, it’s never too late to reap the benefits of hydration: Keep sipping throughout the day, but especially during or after a meal, as the Mayo Clinic claims doing so aids digestion and helps your body better break down and absorb the nutrients.

Is there a wrong way to drink water? Also, this is the hydration hack your water bottle is missing.