I stopped buying juice and… nothing happened!

Love this blog from Jules Smith on making one small but very important change……….

Full disclosure: I’m not a nutritionist, I’m just a busy mum with hungry and thirsty children who are now big enough to help themselves to snacks and drinks.

I had a good run, a really good run, but gone are the days when the safety gate kept them out of the kitchen, latches or simply a lack of height prevented them from rifling through the cupboards. It’s access all areas as far as food and drink are concerned!

I keep treats and snacks so far out of reach even I need help to get them, but the fridge has been fair game for a while and I quickly realised the juice containers were going down at an alarming rate. One morning I saw my son, barely paying any attention, up-end a 2l jug of orange juice into a large glass, slurp it down and refill it without breaking eye contact with the toaster. Shocked by how carelessly he chugalugged the OJ, I started to remind the family to have one small glass of juice at breakfast. Of course the nods, shrugs and ‘sure mum’ were mere lip-service.

So I decided to simply stop buying juice.

I’d somehow felt duty-bound to provide an array of drink choices and soon found myself sucked into a trap of keeping the fridge stocked with juice and cordials. It sounds silly to say it, but, as I made a conscious decision not to have juice in my weekly grocery order, I was a little afraid of the reaction. Nothing shreds my nerves like children complaining! I didn’t make a big announcement, as I might have done in the past, I just didn’t buy it. They noticed. They commented. I simply said, I’m not buying it anymore. They drank water.

That was six months ago. I haven’t bought it since. No-one has asked for it. No-one’s day has been ruined. I have twice squeezed my own OJ and they LOVED it. But it’s labour intensive and expensive so I’ve tried to keep the expectations low on that one.

So what do we drink instead? Chilled water mainly. A couple of large glass, café-style bottles, are always to be found in the fridge door. The kids will now, without prompting, set the table with glasses and a bottle of water. There’s even a certain frisson of excitement from the addition of ice cubes. I know… it’s frozen water in water, but if it makes them happy…

We’ve dabbled with the fruit infuser cups – popping in lemon or lime slices, frozen berries and mint. These add interest, for a while, but we still go back to good old water. We’ve also tried warm milk sprinkled with cinnamon, ice cubes with fruit in them and caffeine-free herbal tea.

Fizzy drinks have always been a very occasional treat – in restaurants, on holiday or at parties. I’ve never banned them, and I never would because I want to know what my kids are eating and drinking – not have them go behind my back at friends’ houses or gorge themselves at parties. Now juices are on the treat list.

Everything in moderation is my motto. I don’t have a vendetta against juice, I know that vitamin C helps with iron absorption and there are other health benefits – all of which, and more, can be realised by eating an actual piece of fruit!

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