Finding healthy options for kids to drink can be extremely difficult. Milk is expensive (especially nowadays!) and doesn't last long if not refrigerated. Water is free and healthy, but many kids won't drink it. And juice - well, even 100% fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, so it's recommended to limit the amount that kids drink every day. And I'm not even going to get into the pop, juice 'drink', and other options that don't have any kind of redeeming quality health-wise.
We've been fairly lucky with our kids. Abby is one of the rare children who prefers to drink water most of the time. In fact, she's pretty much a water or milk child - except for the rare opportunities when she's allowed to have lemonade or other 'fun' drinks as a treat. Hannah doesn't drink water unless it's her only option (although apparently drinking from a water bottle is 'cool') - she loves milk and juice. And Becca so far will drink pretty much anything you give her. Thankfully none of our children so far have developed a taste for pop (or 'soda' for you non-midwesterners out there) - although that probably has as much to do with the fact that we've never really let them try it much as anything else. :)
When MomCentral sent me some samples of Froose®, I was really very curious to see what my kids would think. It's such a healthier alternative - it's described as a 'juice alternative' made from organic whole grains. It's sweetened naturally (with organic brown rice syrup - a complex carbohydrate), so there's less worry about sugar intake and how that will affect kids' health, weight, teeth and the 'bounce off the walls' factor. The fact that it's a good source of fiber (3 grams per serving!) thrills me even more, considering that I do think that upping Hannah's fiber intake probably had at least something to do with her finally being able to stay dry all day. Other benefits that don't necessarily affect us - but I know matter to a whole lot of parents out there - are that it's gluten-free, Kosher and made with organic ingredients.
When we got our samples, I was excited to see three flavor choices - Cheerful Cherry, Playful Peach, and Perfect Pear. I'm not sure that giving the flavors such 'exciting' and 'happy' names makes much of a difference in whether kids will drink it or not, but I suppose it certainly doesn't hurt! I was also glad to see that these are packaged in 'juice' (or drink) boxes - a nice small (4.23 fl. oz.) size to encourage less waste - I know that half-empty drink boxes get left around my house quite often, which is just one reason why we tend to go the drink box route mainly when on the go. I also like the smaller size as it's easier to pack in a diaper bag and I can carry more servings for the same weight as a larger drink box.
So I bet you're wondering what my kids thought... They were very excited to try the drinks - any time they get to have drink boxes (especially at home) is a cause to celebrate in our house. They've tried the flavor options a few times now, so I feel that I can definitively say that the results follow exactly what I would've expected. Abby (my fruit-loving, but non-juice-drinking daughter) has tried the Cherry and Pear and after a few sips of each decides that she doesn't like them. And honestly, this doesn't surprise me. She just is not a 'flavored' drink kind of girl. Hannah, on the other hand (my fruit-hating, but juice-loving daughter), loves the Cherry flavor. She liked the Pear too, just not as much and she hasn't wanted to try the Peach at all. Becca, my least picky drinker, has (no surprise here) liked all of them. I definitely know that we'll be looking for it on the store shelves once our samples run out.
From the Froose® website:
"Froose® combines the best of Organic Whole Grains and Fruit to make a delicious and nutritious alternative to juice that is naturally low in sugar and an excellent source of fiber…as much as eating a whole piece of fruit. Froose® delivers whole grain goodness, fiber and half the sugar found in a typical serving of juice. Froose® uses a whole grain base and flavors it with 100% fruit concentrates and organic brown rice syrup. All the elements of the whole grain are incorporated in the final Froose® beverage. Nothing is stripped out. The soluble and insoluble fiber elements along with the whole grain vitamins and other nutrients are in the Froose® beverage. Regular juice consists of simple carbohydrates coming primarily from the sugar of the fruit without all of the other nutrients found in fruit. Pediatricians warn against over consumption of juice by young children and, in fact, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend no more that 1 ½ cups of juice per day for a two year old. Froose® is the healthy alternative to juice for kids."
And one of the best parts for me? Knowing that Froose® was invented by a mom! :)