Disclaimer: this article is anecdotal in nature and not written by a health professional. As always, refer to your doctor before making any changes to you or your child’s diet.
There are many mistakes I have made so far as a parent. And many more ‘learning experiences’ ahead of me. Of that I am sure.
There are choices we made when Henry was an infant that I would go back and have a do over on if I could. I would have actually slept when my baby slept in the first three months instead of propping myself up with quadruple Americanos. I would have asked for more help, particularly when my husband was working 50+ hours a week and traveling on weekends. I would have put my credit card on ice and stopped shopping online for useless and unneeded baby stuff. If there is a next time I’ll do a few things differently.
But there’s one simple choice I made that has saved us in many ways. Not just money, but time, less garbage and recycling and less tantrum-y toddler demands. Its lightened our grocery bill, the contents of our fridge and made travel with our toddler easier.
No fruit juice.
A former coworker of mine’s husband is a geneticist that works in the area of obesity. When my coworker told me about some of the influences her husband had on their young daughter she talked about his requirement that they never give her juice. Excessive juice consumption has been linked to obesity in children. This made sense to me and, along with a few other reasons, I decided we wouldn’t serve fruit juice to our child too.
As a teen I was an in demand babysitter and saw the battle parents waged over fruit juice with their children. There would be limits and when the child had had their quota their would be whining and begging for more. I witnessed parents trying to pull the reigns in on juice consumption by giving watered down apple juice to their kids. Juice became a war.
Personally I recall being a big fan of juice growing up. With six siblings there was never enough to go around and if a jug was made up I would get my fill before it was all gone. My mother also tried watering juice down for cost savings and I recall many complaints about the ‘poor man’s OJ’ and why couldn’t we have the good, full concentrate, version. When I started buying my own groceries in my second year of university I was excited to splurge on orange juice in cartons. We’d only ever had the stuff from frozen concentrate when I was growing up.
Over the years I’ve mostly weaned myself off of juice. It’s empty calories, heavy to carry home from the grocery store if you shop on foot and never quenches my thirst the way a cold glass of water does. Diet Coke is another matter completely. I’ll write about my long standing love/hate relationship with that beverage another day. Currently 26 days sober from Diet Coke and feeling great.
Please note, I am not saying my child eats only organic unpackaged foods or that he never has a fit outside the ice cream shop because he wants a cone (and I let him have one). There are many more facets to good nutrition than skipping fruit juices.
But this is a simple choice. A simple, fairly small, choice that can save a lot. No juice saves my family:
Henry can now say the word apple and will also eat one all by himself (including the core – calling him our little goat). Instead of fruit juice he drinks water out of a sippy cup during the day and drinks milk from a small 100 ml cup at meals. Also, if I decided to have juice in the house for my son you can bet I would start drinking it myself. Here is a nutrient comparison:
250 mls apple juice: 117 calories and 27 grams of sugar
3 inch diameter apple: 95 calories, 19 grams of sugar and almost 5 grams of belly filling fiber
Sure, containers can be recycled but do I really need to clog up my recycling bin with portable tetra packs and big plastic containers? We also have a small fridge and keeping juice cold would take up prime real estate on our shelves. Choosing not to buy and consume juice helps in the clutter department too.
How much do juice drinking families spend on juice packs for school, family size containers for the fridge and juice drinks at restaurants? I’m betting that we are saving at least a two dollars a week by just sticking to tap water.
Tap Water is Easy
No juice to tote around means my bag is lighter and finding a drink for my son is a breeze. Henry can sip off of my water bottle if we’re out and he’s working on master bigger cups to drink water at restaurants. We live, and mostly travel, in areas that have potable water readily available. When we need a free thirst quenching drink tap water is there for us.
Forever or just for now?
I can’t predict the future. As Henry gets older and catches on that his friends are drinking more exciting options that come in colourful and catchy packaging, I can see we could have a rebellion to the water only rule. But I have hope. My brother’s children opt for water with meals and occasionally have soda as a treat. So I know it’s possible.
Anyone else have a very simple choice they have made that has saved them time, money and hassle?
I’ve been delighted to see how many people have downloaded A Rich Life With Less Stuff: Year One. Not only that but many of you have donated to my hosting/design/domain registration fund and I have enough to cover hosting and domain registration for a year. You guys are awesome.
At some point I’d like to edit the book and lay it out into an easier to read format. I’m mulling over the idea of investing in some software and learning how to do it myself. It’s good to learn new skills, right?
Michelle over at DebtReduction101.com recently downloaded the book and had this to say about it.
… minimalism has been on my mind a lot lately. That’s been partly influenced by the recent purchase of The Minimalist Mom’s e-Book “Year One.” (Technically, the book is free, but I made the $2 donation.) Personally – it’s been the best $2 I’ve spent in awhile. I’m tearing through MM’s book like it’s the latest Diana Gabaldon novel and as good writing should, it’s expanding my mind.
I was blown away to read this – so excited that she is enjoying the book and getting a lot out of it.
Thanks again to all of you that are plowing through the monster of a book. Hope it’s giving you some ideas and inspiration on living with less.