Giving Up Juice Simplified Our Life

The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom:

orange juice
source: Katherine Lim

It seems like such a small thing and such an innocuous item to have in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer.

Juice.

I grew up with juice. I drank orange juice and lemonade. My mother bought the frozen concentrate cans and mixed it up in pitchers. I have five siblings and juice went fast and was expensive. To stretch our grocery dollars my mother watered it down.

For school lunches we had juice boxes if money wasn’t tight. We drank from the water fountain in leaner months.

Juice to me equaled wealth. I went to my friend’s houses for play dates and the juice was tart and full flavored and plentiful. Some of my friends got juice boxes after school which was not allowed at my house.

Despite my early love of juice, I decided when I was pregnant with my son that I wouldn’t be serving him juice unless medically necessary. This choice was based off anecdotal evidence from my babysitting years and information from a friend who’s husband was an obesity researcher.

Battles in the Home

When I was a teen babysitter I saw how toddlers and young children begged their parents for juice. Many of them wouldn’t drink water or would refuse to drink juice that was less than full concentrate. I saw the exasperation on the parents faces as they played out the same battle over and over again.

Packaging and Waste

Juice boxes and cartons fill up recycling bins quickly. They’re also exponentially more expensive than good old tap water.

Easy Water 

Call me lazy but I’d prefer to have a drink that’s easily available for my son than have to tote around or buy juice containers. We always have a water bottle with us when we’re out, and I know where all the free potable drinking fountains and taps are in our town.

Small Choice with Big Impact

The choice to not have juice in our home and to not serve it to our son seems small, but it’s had a big impact on us. We save money, and our son enjoys water and asks for it when he is thirsty. The common spills at the dinner table are easy to clean up, and I never have to visit the juice aisle at the grocery store. We have less packaging to recycle and our grocery bags are lighter.

At almost three my son has had some juice but not a lot. He goes to daycare part-time, and they serve juice during snack time. When he’s been ill we have given him watered down juice. Our little friends have juice boxes in front of him, and he sometimes asks for one. He’s usually quite happy and doesn’t complain when I offer him our version of juice: tap water.

What is a small thing you’ve given up that’s had a big return for simplifying your life?

Rachel Jonat is a world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, loves taking the bus and is attempting to become a tea drinker.
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