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Wisconsin Parent

Juice vs Soda: Tips to Reduce Sugar Consumption

Jul 20, 2013 07:30AM ● By Diane Schwartz

Drinking Apple Fizzy Pop "bird style" while biking. See recipe below.

Juice manufacturers have spent the last 30 years convincing parents that juice is the perfect food. They have succeeded. Back then, we only drank juice at breakfast. Today, kids are drinking juice for breakfast, lunch and as a snack.

While juice isn’t a bad thing in small amounts, too much juice means your kids are getting more sugar than they need. Yes, juice may have a few nutrients, but remember that 8 ounces of juice has the same amount of sugar and calories as 8 ounces of soda. If your kids are drinking juice regularly, they are getting too many calories and may be at risk for obesity and diabetes.

So what’s a parent to do?  Here are 10 common sense tips to reduce soda and sugar intake in beverages.

  1. Serve juice at breakfast only, and then serve only one 4-8 ounce serving. Use these common sense guidelines: Kids 1-6 years old, 4-6 ounces/day; kids 7-18 years old, 8-12 ounces. Babies do not need juice, but if you do serve your baby juice, give it to them in a cup. Bottle feeding with juice destroys young teeth.
  2. Serve your kids fresh fruit instead of juice. It will make them feel fuller.
  3. Buy frozen juice concentrates rather than pre-made juice. It’s cheaper and you are less likely to drink it up so quickly. Plus, there’s less waste.
  4. Add more water to juice concentrates than it says on the package. You’ll save money and your kids probably will not notice the difference.
  5. Go on a juice holiday to break the juice habit. Keep track of savings and use the money to buy something special.
  6. If you must serve soda, limit soda consumption to special occasions, like once a week or month.
  7. Choose store brand soda. Kids are less likely to overdrink soda that doesn’t have a name brand.
  8. Create your own soda alternative. See Apple Fizzy Pop. See recipe below. Your kids will love it.
  9. Read the labels. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners and colors. Many kids react to these additives and studies show that additives and artificial sweeteners cause cravings for more sweets. If you drink soda, keep it real.
  10. Drink more water. Take them to a natural spring and drink the real thing. Water is what your body needs and craves. Add lemon wedges and ice to make water more enticing. Your child’s body will adjust and soon he/she will naturally choose water when thirsty.
114_3882The Soda Alternative Apple Fizzy Pop 

Here’s a simply way to give them the fizz they love without all the sugar. And, it really does taste great.


  • 100 percent apple juice (or other juice) concentrate (no sugar added)
  • Carbonated water.
Pour the carbonated water into an 8 ounce glasses and add a dollop (1-2 tablespoons) of apple juice to flavor. One tablespoon juice concentrate is roughly equivalent to a tablespoon of sugar so don’t go overboard. Just flavor the water. Enjoy. Your kids will love this and you will love that they are getting so much less sugar. You can also just pour the apple juice directly into the bottle of carbonated water and enjoy.