One Simple Thing: No Juice

Source: via Fleur on Pinterest


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:

Empty Calories

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

Less Packaging

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.

Saves Money

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?


Source: via Donna on Pinterest


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 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.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Like this post? Share it:
  • I agree! Who knows what the future holds, but right now our daughter is almost 17 months and we haven’t given her any juice unless it’s fresh juice that we made with our juicer. I feel like that juice is actually like eating the fruit or vegetable, and it’s been one of the only ways we’ve been able to sneak some vegetables in her. Although a juicer is probably not typically in a minimalist kitchen, it’s been something that we use daily and love!

    Congratulations about your book. I agree that your writing, attitude, and ideas all keep me coming back for more!

    • The kitchen is a weak spot for me for minimizing. I love me some kitchen gadgets. If I got into juicing and could see myself using a juicer a few times a week I would have no hesitation on adding one to my kitchen. At the moment I am debating purchasing a hand held blender or small food processor. I keep a mental record of how many times I want to make something but can’t because we don’t have a blender.

      Thanks for the kind words about the book and blog :)

      • My blender broke about a year ago and my mini cuisinart gave up the ghost months ago. I’ve agonized over a replacement. We have a son with some (minor) health problems and a smoothie a day would be really beneficial to him. I’ve decided on a Blendtec blender. My husband is in fits over the $$$ price tag but I received some birthday money and I sold my juicer on craigslist to be able to afford it. The Blendtec makes juice from the whole fruit and is powerful enough to break down the seeds in a strawberry. Plus, it’s easy to clean. Cleaning time was my only complaint with the juicer.

  • My kids do drink watered down blackcurrant cordial, but they also drink water. The one area I’m stricter with is fizzy drinks (soda?). I don’t buy it – and one of the reasons being is that I actually think I may be slightly addicted to Diet Coke in cans (nope not joking :)). It was the first thing I drank (and sometimes the only thing I consumed for breakfast) in the morning when I was in my early twenties and at the office. Even now if I buy it as a mixer, or guests are coming that like it, I have to hide it and forget about it because there’s a chance I’d drink it all – or I buy it in a 1.5 litre bottle as I tend not to open it and drink it – weird eh? The kids are allowed a lemonade as something a bit different if we go out to a restaurant, and I know they drink it at Grandma’s!! But that’s what Grandparents do isn’t it – all the stuff we can’t as parents!!

    • Me and Diet Coke go way back. I’ve quit it several times and then fallen off and gone back for more. At the moment we have some in the house for Chris and I’ve been able to avoid drinking it myself. Slippery slope. I have one and then I want a can. all. the. time. So I totally understand your addiction and sympathize. Funny thing is after a long break from drinking it the first one always tastes awful. But the 2nd, 3rd, 7th ones taste great. :(

      • I am in exactly the same position with Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. If I don’t have it in the house I won’t consume it. And when I have one, I crave it even more even though the first one didn’t takes like I remember and that first taste isn’t all that great. But…it sure get one hooked again. At least thats how it happens with me.

        • Glad to know I am not alone on this. My sister hasn’t had Diet Coke since June so I now it’s possible. I’d like to just drink it sparingly. Like once a month. Is that possible? I hope so.

          • 9 years!?! Thanks for letting me know. Hearing this from you (and Apple) helps. I’m working on taking my nutrition to the next level – no processed foods at all – and Diet Coke has to go.

  • We’re an almost no juice family. We have it a couple of times a year when it’s our turn to take snacks for the soccer team and there are left over juice boxes. My younger daughter begs for it anytime we’re somewhere where they have juice but at home it’s all water, especially now that we had to give up cow milk and non-dairy alternatives just aren’t as good.

    We’re just starting our journey to minimalism and your blog has been a great inspiration. I’ve always been a cluttery pack rat so I’m really excited to see how this changes our life. My older daughter is totally on board. My younger one…not so much. Stuff is emotional security for her. We’ll see how it goes with her stuff.

    • All things in moderation, right? I think Henry has had juice out of his friend’s sippy cups at play dates a few times.

      Good luck on your journey. I have to say, we had it easy starting this with a very young child. No words to complain about use donating toys or reducing his wardrobe.

  • We long ago gave up juice in our house. It drives my mother crazy. She still thinks juice is a necessary part of breakfast. But considering you can get more vitamin C from Zinger teas, (hibiscus teas) I see NO reason for anyone in my family to drink juice.

  • We drink very limited juice in our house. Maybe once a month or so I’ll buy a jug of apple juice as a treat for our 3 older kids, and a couple of cartons of OJ for my husband and I to have 4 oz. or so with breakfast. However, we carry our water bottles everywhere and our we all prefer water to anything else throughout the day.
    Our biggie, instead of juice, is no soda. Our kids (6,4,2 and 1) have never had soda, and have no interest in it. The husband and I have one can or so a week as a treat and I cannot tell you how much money and empty calories are saved with this decision. Twice a year we get a few 12-packs to last us 6 months or so. So, $15-20 total on sodas per year, and 1000’s of empty calories saved. Not to mention the whining of “I want” when we’re out and about and another child has a soda–my kids don’t even think that they are missing out on anything. We never really planned to go this long before introducing soda to our kids, but since they have no interest, we also don’t want to introduce it just for the sake of introducing it.

  • We drink very limited juice in our house. Maybe once a month or so I’ll buy a jug of apple juice as a treat for our 3 older kids, and a couple of cartons of OJ for my husband and I to have 4 oz. or so with breakfast. However, we carry our water bottles everywhere and our we all prefer water to anything else throughout the day.
    Our biggie, instead of juice, is no soda. Our kids (6,4,2 and 1) have never had soda, and have no interest in it. The husband and I have one can or so a week as a treat and I cannot tell you how much money and empty calories are saved with this decision. Twice a year we get a few 12-packs to last us 6 months or so. So, $15-20 total on sodas per year, and 1000′s of empty calories saved. Not to mention the whining of “I want” when we’re out and about and another child has a soda–my kids don’t even think that they are missing out on anything. We never really planned to go this long before introducing soda to our kids, but since they have no interest, we also don’t want to introduce it just for the sake of introducing it

    • Thanks, Stephanie. I love hearing this from a parent with children that are older than mine!! Soda is a big one. I want to completely kick my Diet Coke habit in the next year. Lots of good reasons to do this but one of them is to keep Henry off soda.

  • Good for you Rachel. We have always offered both of our children water to drink and milk with meals. Our oldest is now seven and he prefers water or milk over juice.

    Our seven-year old still has juice if he’s at a birthday party or somewhere else where juice is being served, but for the most part he chooses water or milk if it’s available.

    I agree that fruit juice should be considered a special treat and not an everyday drink.

    BUT, my husband still drinks a very small glass of orange juice every morning with breakfast. One carton lasts him about two weeks.

  • We have slowly been working towards being a no-juice household. Instead of juice now we’ve moved towards green smoothies – more fibre, more nutrients, and it’s a good way to get more green leafy’s into my kids (and me).

    • Heard great things about green smoothies. Do you make them with a regular blender or do you have a Vita-Mix? I would like to try them but we currently don’t even have a blender. Considering buying one as there are quite a few things I am not making right now because of it.

  • We are a no Juice family too.. I only buy fresh milk for the kids but hubs loves to buy ice lemon tea and other sweet drinks which I strongly frown on and try to refrain the kids from I feel it’s really making them too hyper from the sugars inside.

  • LOVED your no juice posting – it’s been something we’ve been trying to convince people about as public health nurses for several years now…and my son is 8 years old and considers juice a “treat drink” that he only gets when we eat at other people’s houses…I think if I don’t stock it in the home, then it’s not on my family’s radar as a choice.

    PS Another benefit? So much easier to clean up water messes than it is juice spills…and in wasp season – even more true!

    Love reading your blog :)

    • So true: water clean up really is easier. We’re in a rental that is carpeted and have had lots of spills already. They’ve mostly been non-staining non-smelling water spills. Hooray! :)

  • I fully intended to be a juice free house and I’m not sure what happened. I mean, I try and look back and figure out when juice got introduced to my now 2 year old, and I’m just not sure. She was in and out of the hospital for most of her first year (and I know she used to get juice in the hospital to help with her blood sugar levels) and then we lived with my in-laws for awhile, I think it was somewhere in there. She’s never had full strength juice, it’s always been watered down 75% water 25% juice, but boy do I wish we could eliminate juice completely. It’s not really a costly thing for us, a huge jug is $2 at Walmart, and it lasts for at least 3 weeks… but it’s annoying ‘having’ to have it on hand, and honestly, water is just so much better for her. I’m due in November with baby #2, so it’s been on my radar for awhile to eliminate the juice so we can be juice free without a battle for baby #2.

    • So goes parenting, right? We try our best but some things just don’t happen. I wrote earlier in the comments section that we are in a test of wills over yogurt. My son is obsessed with it and will stand at the refrigerator door asking for it. all. day. long. Who fostered the yogurt obsession? Me. Every time he wouldn’t eat a meal I would give him yogurt because I knew he would eat that. It also became the go to snack. Ooops.

  • One thing we don’t have, and therefore our kids don’t have, is television. My husband and I decided about four years ago, about the time our oldest was born, to go without. However, we do let our boys watch videos rented from our most awesome video store down the street or from the library. I’m very happy to spend $2 here and there and support a local, independent business.

    And we also don’t buy juice…while reading your post I was wondering if you read my mind somehow??!! But once in a while we let the boys have a juice if we’re at someone’s house and it’s such a big treat, like having pop! There’s so much we can do now, while our kids are little, to teach them about the world and about how we want to live.

    • Our furnished rental came with a television and there is free basic cable with a few channels. Back in Canada we had cut our cable and watched shows on Netflix or with Apple TV. I secretly hope we move somewhere in the next year that doesn’t have a television at all and I can convince my husband to try living without one.

      Keep renting from that video store. They are a, sadly, dying breed. :)

      • A bit too late to comment now but I hope you know you need a licence to watch the TV here in Britain? Just not sure if you’d know that, having come from Canada?
        Karen (Scotland)

        • Yep, know about the tv license. I think it’s an interesting system. In Canada public television is funded through income tax. Have to say, the license is worth it. I am loving the BBC and all the docs (modern docs!!) they show.

  • I was an apple juice fiend growing up. And when I was pregnant, I turned into a full-on addict. Fortunately, our budget dictated that juice would be a treat rather than a full-time staple in our home. Our kids prefer water to other drinks (except Isaiah, he loves his milk and has become quite fond of orange juice) and say the stuff in the packets is too sweet. Yes! We do buy the concentrate OJ to have on hand for smoothies, but I don’t make it very often. It was out goal to raise kids who love water and so far it’s working. I’m definitely sharing this post. :)

  • When I offer ‘water or milk’ to my kids friends they always ask what else I have, but those are my only options.
    Occasionally I buy ‘ green juice’ which is a smoothy with green veggies mixed with fruits.

    We have only just starting to let my oldest to have soda drinks when out, usually because it is now out of our control. She gets that it is a treat and understands that it is not a healthy choice. But at the same time I want her to understand that she can have treats occasionally and not have her over indulge whenever it is available… I would like her to understand that there is a balance.

    Someone else mentioned TV and I treat it the same way, we allow TV but don’t have cable. Again trying to encourage more active activities, and less inactive ones.

    The best thing I think I can teach them (hopefully by example) is that everything has limits and we try to achieve some balance in what we want and what we need.

    • The best thing I think I can teach them (hopefully by example) is that everything has limits and we try to achieve some balance in what we want and what we need.

      So true. Thanks for this :)

  • Had to pop back – on the note of simple alternatives I wanted to share a top tip. Tomato puree is a great cheap (at typically less than 50p for 200g) for a healthy alternative to shop purchased pasta sauce for kids. A really simple and frugal meal is wholewheat pasta, whilst boiling add some frozen peas and/or sweetcorn. Then mix in puree once drained and ready to serve. It tastes great, my Son (who’s a fussy little eater at times) asks for this and always specifically asks for ‘the red stuff on top Mommy’.

  • Growing up, we drank lots of crap juice like Sunny D. We do limit juice in our household to 100% OJ or freshly squeezed stuff/smoothies. From our perspective, we’d rather them have fruit in any form over coffee, soda, or tea. Currently, the boys drink mostly milk as they are on the very low end of the scale for their ages.

    As for a simple thing we cut out-packaged sweets. I figure if we need something sugary, I can make it. This saves on a lot of packaging and junk ingredients. I’m not sure if it saves us any money, but homemade goodies sure do taste better and are better for us!

    • Great tip on packaged sweets. And for me, if I have to go to the bother of making it, I really want it. Where as if it’s just sitting in the cupboards ready to eat I will snack on it.

  • I do my grocery shopping once a week on Thursday and on that occasion I buy a very limited amount of juice. And when it’s gone it’s gone (normally on the 2nd day). The advantage is that the juice comes in small bottles that are perfect for re-use. I have been a mother for 21 years and I never found a kid’s bottle that doesn’t drip. So after the juice is gone, I fill them up with water several times. My youngest son’s teacher only allows water, so that’s a rule in our house: “water only” at school. And of course we drink water from the tap! Luxembourgers like to buy mineral water in bottles, but I think that’s a waste of money.
    Buy the way, I am addicted to tea!

  • I don’t like buying juice. About 10 years ago when I met my husband he was addicted to juice. He preferred to drink juice instead of eating meals. I kepts telling him how expensive it was so then he started buy crystalized juice which is cheaper but not healthy at all. Now he never buys it and i only get it on occasion if it’s super cheap or for a treat. Actually yesterday we were at his moms house for dinner and she kept giving my daughter cranberry grape and i finally said enough with the sugar, her response was there’s no sugar added. I was like well there is still sugar in juice and no fibre it’s not the same as eating an apple. Oh boy now I know where he got his thinking that juice was actually good for him. I stopped juice completely in the summer and notice a huge difference in my childs behaviour. I know that sounds strange but there are no highs and lows from all the sugar.

    • I’m trying to reduce the sugar and grains in my son’s diet. I’ve read from other parents that this has helped there children avoid the highs and lows you mentioned. My son is a great toddler but is definitely getting into the ‘terrible twos’ as they say.

  • We only buy juice for the nutrient-packed smoothies that we make on occasion for an after-school snack or summer treat. I once slipped a whole zucchini from the garden into the blender along with the berries, yogurt and flax meal and didn’t get caught! So that’s where juice is useful for us.

    This might seem to come out of left field, but you mention reducing your garbage and recycling waste — we’ve switched to making our own yogurt and are reaping many benefits. First off, the yogurt is wonderful and contains no funny stuff. But another benefit I’ve just clued in to is that our blue bin is only about half full each week instead of overflowing. We don’t have five or six 650mL plastic containers in there, AND most of our large jars from spaghetti sauce, pickles, etc., are now in the cupboard and being used over and over for making yogurt. Not sure you could manage this with your small fridge, but it’s been great for us!

    • Elin – thanks for mentioning homemade yogurt. I’ve actually been thinking about it for a few weeks now. My brother makes homemade yogurt and has told me it is easy. Mulling it over. We do have limited fridge space but if there is room for our current stash of yogourt there should be room for homemade. Hmmm… something to research this week.

  • We buy NO fruit juice at all. Since the kids were babies, they have either milk or water. My 7 year old does not like any other drinks, even on birthday parties or play-dates, he always asks for milk or water. The little one, however, at home has no problem drinking milk or water, however, whenever we go out for a meal, or if he is on a play-date, birthday party, asks for juice. I don’t mind that. I just hate the idea of kids (an adults) soaking their teeth all day with juice/Coke etc.

  • No juice, TV, randomly purchased new toys or candy. We just don’t buy them or have them. My husband is a pediatrician and had to inform me early on that juice is not only unnecessary for nutrition, its actually closer to “soda” than “fruit”. Plus, I think its so much cleaner for there just to be water in their bottles and cups, with almond milk in glasses at meals… and… as you pointed out, its much lower in calories for me 😉

  • Meh, I am all for everything in moderation. I grew up in a household that banned cookies and desserts. And guess what I crave in adulthood? Yeah, put a cookie in front of me and get ready to see shades of Cookie Monster crazy.

    Anywho, my kids do drink juice but I water it down halfway with tap water. I have no issues with my kids drinking juice as long as it’s not too much and I prefer they don’t drink juice after 4pm. They usually have milk when we do go out to restaurants, which is no very often. If the kids are sick, I will buy ginger ale (and mix it with electrolyte solution – it sounds disgusting but it works!) but as a general rule, we don’t keep pop in the house and the only time they get it is when they visit the grandparents – go figure. :)

    • We got gingerale unfizzed when we were sick to. :)

      Interesting to hear your history with banned cookies and desserts. I’ve heard second hand about people growing up in strict vegetarian households and then rebelling once they left home (meat and junk food binges!). I’m trying to keep things like that in mind. Henry has treats here and there and I didn’t do the ‘no sugar ever’ rule that a few friends adopted.

      • I have fond memories of my younger brother going to Safeway with his allowance money and buying bags of Oreo cookies (and Fruit Loops!) and then hiding them in his room. Not really something I want to cultivate in my kids, hence the lack of strictness around here. :)

        • My brother (as a teen) used his money from a part-time job to order pizza and buy chips. Not because we didn’t ever have them in the house but because there wasn’t money for them that often. Also, with six kids stuff went fast. If my mom bought chips they were eaten that night. We also went through cheese at an insane rate. That was another one that when it was gone, it was gone so we got our fill of grilled cheese for a few days and then went without.

          You’re totally making me think about food issues and my childhood. I’ve been working on them for a long time. Actually, keeping fewer groceries on hand has been a sign of letting go of the past. When I first started grocery shopping for myself in university I would line my cupboards up and enjoy just looking at all the food. It was exciting. We had some days when I was a kid when there was literally nothing to take for school lunches. Not a regular occurrence but I remember them well.

          Thanks for this reminder. Don’t want to pass my issues onto Henry. Hopefully we can help him appreciate healthy food and treats in moderation.

          • Jumping in here because I have seen it from both sides. Kids who only drink water as that is all that has been given and they are used to it no problem, but I also know of kids that binge on treats when they get opportunity due to the lack of chocolate and biscuits being allowed at home (including hiding it – I once ate all the chocolates off the Xmas tree in one sitting and hid the wrappers in my wardrobe at approx age 6). IMO it’s key not to make a big thing of it. Food is a difficult area and its easy to complicate ones relationship with it. Balanced meals with some ‘treats’ work well here at Chez Wright for the Kids and Mommy! “Everything in moderation including moderation” – Oscar Wilde.

  • This is a really timely post for me! My boyfriend started drinking OJ with his breakfast because it would help with his iron deficiency. I never drank OJ before with my breakfast, but now we have it in the fridge, I started drinking it too. I know I should quit, because it’s just empty calories. This post is a good encouragement!

    I don’t drink much soda, but to completely stop drinking Diet Coke is so hard for me! When my energey level is low late afternoon,and I’m tired of drinking tea and water all day, I do enjoy a can of Diet Coke. Do you have any ideas on alternatives?

    • A short walk or stretching?

      I tend to fight the afternoon tired feeling too. I was having a cup of coffee between 3-4pm most days but have recently cut it out. I’m eating more protein, less sugar and grains, and it seems to keep my energy up through the afternoon.

  • My daughter is allergic to milk and suffered from severe constipation before we figured it out. In an effort to get her to drink a lot of liquids we let her drink juice. Mostly those “fresh squeezed” juices but they are not really all that fresh 😉 DH drank a lot of juice too. I was tired of buying it all the time and recycling the cartons. After reading about the use of flavor packs in the so-called fresh squeezed juices I decided we needed a change -the juice drinking had gotten out of hand. And DD’s tummy was so much better. She now drinks water, rice milk, or home made currant juice. We sometimes have store bought smoothies, and sometimes I make our own smoothies (blender is broken now, oyi). Occasionally I have bought apple juice because she likes “green drinks” which is chlorella and spirulina mixed in apple juice.

    She is luckily very adaptable, and she still gets juice, but it’s our homemade juice and it’s not the only thing she drinks. There is never tantrums.

  • We have always been juice free here. My son is 5 and only gets it as a treat when we eat out or at parties. He also knows soda is completely off limits for him.

    Our favorite drink is actually sparkling water. It’s more expensive than soda when bought in bottle but we invested in a Soda Stream machine and it is awesome! We get the “treat” of fancy water without the cost and no wasteful bottles! The next step is to buy a kegerator to cut out the waste of bottled beer!

    • I love mineral water but hate the packaging and recycling that comes with it. In fact, I recently started ordering it with our grocery delivery but just stopped. I am tired of all the space it takes up and how much recycling it produces.

      Hmmm… thinking about the soda stream…

  • Good call on the juice. Personally I stopped drinking it years ago because it’s so full of sugar. I do, however, have an unfortunate addiction to Diet Pepsi. I’m pretty sure they lace it with cocaine to keep you hooked!

    • I’ve been hooked on Diet Pepsi (college, early 20’s) and then switched to Diet Coke when I met my husband (he is a DC drinker). It’s hard. When I am drinking it I feel like every and any meal would be better with a Diet Coke.

      I’ve been off it for a month and while I’ve kicked it before, only to go back, I feel like this time is different. Here’s hoping.

      • Fingers crossed you’ll do it this time. It’s almost like giving up smoking. I never smoked, but was a Diet Coke addict during my time at university. It took me years not just to give it up, but to NOT have the craving for it when I see it in the shops. :)

  • Great post. Excess dietary fructose is really so detrimental. My son is only 19 months, but he only drinks water and breastmilk with the occasional glass of coconut milk. He also drinks smoothies (which he calls juice, but contain no actual juice) of whole fruits and vegetables and nut or seed milk.

    In the last couple of years there have been two athletes I coach that simply weren’t able to get their body fat percentage in check no matter how many miles a week they ran. It turned out they both drank excessive amounts of packaged juice and once they were off of it, their times started coming down dramatically.

    Thanks for the reminder that juice is wasteful in multiple ways!

  • We have only ever given our daughter water to drink (no milk, either, after breast milk–she’s vegan), and I can say that at 12, she still orders water, voluntarily, at a restaurant and asks for it at other peoples’ houses. She wouldn’t drink a soda if you twisted her arm, and she thinks of fruit juice as a food, not a beverage. You can make it stick!

  • This is great.

    I RARELY ever give my kids anything to drink besides water – no milk, juice or definitely soda. I notice that whenever we have that stuff around it does become a battle about when and how much they get to drink. When we don’t have it (which is most of the time), when they are thirsty they simply get themselves a glass of water – so simple!

    • Thanks, Rachel. Nice to hear this from a large with family some children a bit older (and some younger!) than mine.
      And I would bet sticking to water simplifies things when you are on the road.

  • We don’t allow carbonated drinks with our kids – (we drink them ourselves…after bedtime! Shhhh…) I have a 7 and a 4 year old and one thing that worked for us is only allowing juice on picnics. So that means for 5 months out of the year (maybe 4….Im in Minnesota!)….we have picnics outside maybe 2-3 times a month. At that time, they can take a juice box. It’s come to be a “summer thing”.

    • Hahaha! Our ‘once he’s in bed’ treat has been chocolate.
      Like hearing all the interesting ways parents put limits on sugary drinks. Like just for picnics, at friend’s house when it is offered or ‘when it’s gone it’s gone’ and no more till the next grocery shop.

  • I can give you a small vision of the future. We never gave our son fruit juice when he was small. He drank nothing but milk or water. He is eight years old now and I have allowed him to drink juice on occasion. In the fall, my mother makes oatmeal with apple cider from a local orchard, so this is allowed as a special treat in autumn only. For the most part however, because he knows we do not have anything but water or milk in the house he doesn’t have a problem drinking it.

  • My mum’s friends would often ask – ‘how does Rachael get the kids to drink water?’ Well *ahem* if that’s all they have and are offered that’s what they will drink (and it’s the best for quenching thirst in any case)..

    Having said that…

    …there is one applicance in my house that we can’t live without. Our vitamix. In it we can make the most healthy juices/smoothies ever. The whole fruit is pulverised and nothing is wasted. Beter than juice, better than juice from a juicer (that discards much of the fibre) – it’s really just drinking whole fruit and veggies and gives the kids the opportunity to have something that is yummy to them but entirely healthy. I am neither a minimalist nor a vegan but it I was either of those things this is an appliance I would choose not to live without.

  • I never gave my son juice because he was a super fat baby (he’s fine now!) and although he likes sweets, he never has liked the taste of juice. When he was a toddler I told his daycare not to give him juice. When he was about 4, they often started “forgetting” and giving him juice and he would tell them he didn’t like it and wanted water. The teachers told me this because they found it amazing. He is almost eight and loves candy, but still doesn’t like juice. He will occasionally take a soda at a party to be cool but I notice he drinks about an inch of it in a half hour.

    I gave my daughter juice earlier and she loves it. I let her have a glass of apple juice occasionally, but I wish I had never introduced it.

    Now, my three year old daughter on the other hand would guzzle juice all day if you let her. We were more lax with her and she got juice early. I wish I had been strict with her too!

  • My 3 year old daughter does not and never has liked milk. She eats small amounts of cheese. She does not like any of the alternative milks either – soy, almond, chocolate… nothing. Not to mention that I have significant issues/concerns about the dairy industry and feel if you’re not drinking locally produced organic milk, that the benefits are limited anyways…

    For a myriad of other reasons, her doctor supports our giving her calcium fortified OJ – and has never once mentioned an obesity concern.

    As far as the research linking juice to obesity – well, you really need to carefully look at the data. And, there was no link to a scientific paper in this post – just to a press release! As a scientist, I know that there is a difference between causitive and corelative – and in all likelihood, juice intake has been found at higher levels in obese children but my guess is that there are PLENTY of thin kids with equal or greater intake levels. The press release even states: “The more juice a child consumes in a day, the more likely it is that they will be within an unhealthy weight range.” It does NOT say that any amount of juice consumption causes obesity – just excessive. Which makes sense – too much of anything is bad! As a scientist and informed parent – I want to look at the research myself and make my OWN judgements – and not rely on the possibly biased views of the researcher (or blogger).

    A very well known blogging dietician says that drinking juice in moderation IS OK and even links to 2 different research studies showing that there IS NO ASSOCIATION BETWEEN JUICE CONSUMPTION AND OBESITY. I’ve looked at the research and agree with their conclusions…

    I realize that not everyone has access to the science journals and no one person can background check everything – but… Please be careful with extremes of anything. Drinking or eating too much of anything, even broccoli, can lead to obesity, but in moderation, juice is and can be part of a healthy well rounded diet.

  • We made the same decision in regards to Peanut when she was younger. My biggest hangup was how much healthier it is for you to eat a whole fruit rather than the juice. Grandmas we not happy about it, but oh well to them. We also didn’t give her cow milk for a long time because she was (and still is) nursing, so why give her the substitute when she has the real stuff.

    We eventually started giving her diluted juice on occasion (like for a really long car ride, it was her special treat). Now she has about 2 glasses a week because we get it for free with WIC, but it’s still not an every day thing. And once it’s gone, it’s gone.

    I’m happy we did it in the end because she loves whole fruits and vegetables and always has. I’m sure that’s also in part due to the baby-led weaning.

  • When I was a kid, we were allowed juice – however, we had watered down apple juice or watered down black current juice most of the time.
    Watered down orange juice tastes just awful, so if we had orange juice, we got it pure.
    By the way: none of us siblings is obese, I’m the fattest by far and I’m just normal (BMI about 22). My brother is rather too thin.

    We weren’t allowed soda at home though. Coke was strictly forbidden until we were about 10 (due to the caffein), all other kinds of soda were only allowed as a special treat in restaurants (when grown ups would have beer or wine) or at birthday parties. It was a special drink for special occassions. The funny thing is that I stick to that. Only very rarely do I buy soda. It’s in the same range as alcoholic beverages to me – I do drink coke out in a bar sometimes and sometimes I get a bottle at the supermarket, if we have friends over or if I have a junkfood night in (having home-made pizza) with my boyfriend. It’s a decision of “should we get wine or soda for that special night?” and never of “water or soda”.
    To me, soda is a treat, is a sweet, like ice cream, chocolate or beer – it’s not a beverage.
    If you’re thirsty, drink water – that’s what I learnt as a child.

  • I’m so with you on this one. We’ve never had juice in our house. There can be as much sugar in a fruit juice as there is in a coke. I always have a bowl of apples within easy reach on our coffee table so the children can help themselves. It’s a great way to get them used to eating fruit. When they’re little you do have to put up with a certain amount of wastage as a toddler usually likes to take one bite out of multiple apples, rather than the other way round. But if it develops healthy eating habits I’m ok with that.
    And I can’t bear those individually packaged fruit drinks designed for school lunches. I can’t bear the thought of that packaging sitting around for years in landfill for the sake of 200 mls of sweetened lolly water.

  • I am a water drinker and have always been a water drinker, I think the trick is to not make it a rule that in this house we only drink water. Instead it should be taken for granted that water is the superior drink and everyone loves water to there meals.

  • Hi there,

    Our two year old son never drank juice – it was always soy or almond milk – and then one of his friends had it at daycare. His friend kept asking for “juice, juice?” and our son was like what is this great thing my friend keeps asking about? Now it’s an obsession in our house too, but we only give in to one a day and his cup is always filled with half juice and half water.

    Your site is great by the way! It seems as if our families are on similar journeys. I would love to have you guest post on my blog if you ever have some extra time. Please let me know. Thanks!

  • I grew up in a household where we drank juice, soda and milk because my dad hated water. When I got married to my husband, he drank water a lot. It took years, but now I am the same way. We buy orange juice and limit it to 4 oz. at a time, once a day if even. Other than that, juice is something we get for holidays for a treat. I didn’t really take the time to think about how much we save in money by drinking water. I have thought of how much healthier we are and how many less calories we have each day because of this one choice. If I hadn’t married my husband, I could have easily passed on the tradition I learned growing up by just drinking juice and soda and giving our kids that too.

  • My kids had apple juice, because we mums were encouraged to give it to increase their fruit intake. If I had my time again, I’d just stick to water. All that extra sugar they had…

Comments are closed.