Reader Tip: Fruit Juice Alternative
Tip from Alyssa:
As a health-conscious mom of four small kids, I really wanted to avoid serving my kids fruit juice on a regular basis. Not only was it expensive, I was concerned about the effect on my kids’ teeth (dental work is a real budget-killer!) and overall health from consuming so much fructose (read: sugar) for relatively little nutrition in return.
However, there are times I really need them to drink more fluids, like when they have fevers, when it’s hot outside or when I notice my oldest son having a hard time focusing. I have tried watering down fruit juice, which works most of the time, but it was hard to keep on hand for just those times when they don’t want to drink a large amount of plain water.
My Affordable Solution?
Supermarkets typically run boxes of herbal fruit tea on sale two for $4 in my area. I use two bags per liter of cold herbal fruit tea, putting each liter at $0.10. Pretty cheap to me! Bonus: The dry tea is easy to keep on hand. If there are weeks we don’t need flavored drinks, it’s just fine waiting in our cupboard!
How We Make Our Tea:
- Boil two cups of water in a small pan, tea kettle or microwave.
- Place two tea bags of your choice, in a heat-safe (preferably glass) container.
- Pour boiling water over the tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
- Pour steeped tea into a one-liter/quart pitcher and fill with cold water.
To make a gallon to keep on hand in the refrigerator, I find that six bags are plenty to make adequate tea. This even increases your savings!
My kids will drink most of the fruit teas unsweetened, but if it’s a hard sell, then you might try sweetening it.
- Stevia is a natural herb which can be used for sweetening. Stevia extract comes in bottles, powder and packets from brands such as Truvia, Stevia in the Raw or Purevia. Be careful! A little stevia goes a long way so just use a drop or pinch and sweeten to taste. If you add too much, it will be sickening sweet and have a funny aftertaste.
- Sugar (honey, turbinado, sucanat cane, etc.) To dissolve the sugar in your tea, stir in while it is still hot or take a little of your plain hot water and dissolve your sugar in a separate measuring cup. This will make your own sugar syrup that you can blend in with your tea to taste. (Isn’t this defeating the purpose? Well, in a way, no. You will be in control of how much you put in, and if you’re conscientious, then it will most likely be far less than average fruit juices.)
Alyssa is a happy (if not slightly insane at times) navy wife, and homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 6, 5, 2 and 5 months. She dreams of starting a blog one day, then quickly jerks back to reality where the mountain of laundry beckons, someone needs their shoes tied (again), and someone else begs her to turn the house upside down to find his toy hippo he hasn’t seen in three days.
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