Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Why do we put juice boxes in our kids’ lunches? Those perfectly-shaped containers that fit next to the pbj and don’t spill or leak…how can you resist? It even comes with its own straw!

While fruit juice (100%, not the sugary, fruit-flavored alternatives) does offer some nutritional value, it’s not much better than empty calories. Too much juice – especially in the middle of the day when your child can’t brush right away – can lead to cavities. Too much sugar in our kids’ diets is contributing to the increasing rate of obesity.

Drinking juice can cause diarrhea, gas and other gastrointestinal issues (not something you want your kids experiencing in the middle of their school day!) Even worse, fruit juice is high in calories and will make your child feel full without giving them much in the way of nutritional value. Juice is best saved for the child who is experiencing constipation. A healthier option is to send an actual piece of fruit.

There are better, healthier options for your child’s lunchbox!


School kids need plenty of calcium and Vitamin D, and unless your child is already drinking milk or consuming a lot dairy products, milk is a great choice for lunch. Conveniently, kids can buy milk through the school cafeteria or you can even buy shelf-safe milk so you don’t have to worry about spoilage.

Vegetable Juice

Unlike fruit juice, vegetable juice is a great way to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables while still being low in calories.  You can buy both tomato juice and vegetable juice in lunch-size cans.


Drinking water is a healthy habit at any age and costs less than milk or vegetable juice. You can even buy (by the case) mini water bottles that are the perfect lunchbox size, although we recommend a reusable, BPA free, dishwasher safe bottle that doesn’t contribute to environmental issues.