Fruit juice boxes (and Walmart?)

Have you seen these billboards? I’ve seen a couple and I wanted to share what it says, “More fruit for their lunchbox. Now at Walmart.” In small print under the picture of the juice box it says, “1 1/2 servings of fruit.” I guess that Juicy*Juice is making larger juice boxes now…Sorry but I think this is a lame ad because who cares about bigger juice boxes?

Fruit juice counts as a “fruit” even per the USDA. From what little I know about nutrition, fruit contains fiber, which offsets the natural sugar in fruit. If you drink a glass of juice (or anything sugary), the sugar enters your bloodstream faster that if you ate a piece of fruit (I’m a believer in the Glycemic Index — when I’ve wanted to lose weight, it works well). Spikes in blood sugar cause spikes in insulin. Doing that repeatedly over time leads to insulin resistance. Even “100% juice” is not as good as actual fruit. But unknowing parents think that “100% juice” juice boxes are wholesome and at least as good as regular fruit.

Not to mention the “eco-friendly” choice for your daily fruit requirement should be actual fruit (less processing, less trucking, less gas).

What’s your opinion about juice boxes in lunches?


Not a big fan of Walmart. Why? Almost 20 years ago my mom owned a coffee shop in the small, but quaint downtown area of the town I consider myself from (we moved around a lot). Wal-mart set up camp practically outside the city limits. No one came downtown to shop and within a few years the downtown sort of dried up. My mother’s coffee shop went under as did other locally owned businesses. If you are concerned about what Wal-mart does, check out the work of Wake Up Walmart. Aside from squeezing out small business owners, Walmart’s wages are low enough that their employees qualify for food stamps and medicaid.

Thankfully the downtown area of my old hometown has made some changes to “the strip” and I think it is on an upswing. And my mom has moved on and changed careers, but her unique coffee shop was never replaced.

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41 thoughts on “Fruit juice boxes (and Walmart?)

  1. We never give our kids juice boxes because we always serve watered down 100% juice – plus we use reusable containers since juice boxes are just a waste in packaging. Both of my boys get a thermos with about 20% organic 100% juice and 80% water. I can't fathom giving a kid all that juice and sugar and wasting all that packaging just because you're too lazy to fill up a thermos for a kid.

  2. Not too excited about juice boxes in lunches. Thank goodness all my progeny are grown. I have to say that I am a fan of Walmart. We are really watching our pennies at the moment and I couldn't get my budget to stretch as far without Walmart.

  3. I avoid Walmart whenever possible.

    As for juice…I finally figured out it was the Crystal Lite that was making my kid hyper. He wouldn't drink water, and I didn't think living on milk would be the best, either. So I did start getting juice.

  4. Here in the UK (or England at least) a 250 ml glass of 100% juice will count as one portion of fruit/veg a day but any drunk in excess of that does not count as extra portions due to the lack of fibre. Also over here potatoes don't count as a portions of fruit/veg due to the high starch levels, that also seems to be different in the USA it would seem due to the number of tator tots (sp?) that seem to pass a veg portions in your lunches.

  5. I rarely give my son fruit juice boxes when he goes to daycare. And when I do, I'm not convinced I'm doing something that is as good as what nature produces. But I'm a lucky mom because my nearly 3-yr old child still usually picks his fruits and vegetables over anything else on his plate. And he still prefers water and regular milk to anything else when he's thirsty.

  6. we give our daughter watered down juice also. (its come to be know as ju-water) and i think i have only bought juice boxes one time as a special prize for potty training. otherwise, its a waste of packaging and money. luckily, our daughter *loves* whole fruits and veggies and would rather eat those than most other things. i am also very careful to fully check labels of drinks as they may look like juice, but can be only 5% juice, and who knows what the other 95% is.

  7. Hmm, I do give my kids Capri Suns in lunch boxes only. I do buy the 25% less sugar version and I do not count them as a serving of fruit. They give the ackage to the school who gets like a dime per package. This is the only time they get anything close to juice. During the school year, they only get water or milk at home. My oldest daughter (12) prefers water bottles in her lunch because a juice box does not offer enough liquid. We reuse and recycle water bottles and also use reusable bottles (they are too big for lunch boxes).

    Obviously, I am not against juice boxes. But then again I am not strictly against any food or beverage. Life and nutrition is about balance. As children age, more options will and should be offered to them so that they can make good choices.

  8. I don't have any opinion good or bad about juice boxes-we drank them when I grew up. We also ate a lot of fresh fruit though-my parents were smart enough to realize juice does not equal fruit.

    I do have (pretty strong) opinions about Walmart though. My mom works at Sam's (run by the same company as Walmart), and I worked there for a few months. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but having personally been an employee there, I feel like I have to chime in and say that they aren't all bad. I was there as a part time job while in college, and I earned $9.00/hour, which is not bad where I live for a part time, retail job. My mother and I both have had very pleasant experiences working at the Walmart company.

  9. Live and learn.
    We used to water down the juice too. Or was it juice up the water. Water with a splash?

    then juice boxes for the oldest, because it was easy and there was so much she couldn't eat. The youngest Always wanted water. We went through mountains of water bottles and now use lunchbox sized steel bottles.

    As I've said before I teach 3 yr olds and I eat lunch with them. Half the class has a juice pouch or box the other half brings water. One child brought milk every day. I talked to parents. Some of the kids only got juice pouches for school it was a treat. Others got them all the time. Most of the juice box/pouch kids could not finish the container at one sitting. I throw out a lot of juice.
    We serve apple juice and water with snacks. At the beginning of the year the milk drinker was Crazy for the juice because he didn't get it at home. By the end of the year he only was asking for water. In fact half the kids were asking for water at snack time by the end of the year, because I offered it. I didn't just set it on the table I asked each child, if they would like water or juice.

  10. I just blogged about this subject today! Well not about Walmart, but about Motts. I've got a linky up for people to link up to their product reviews. Please feel free to come on over and link up!


  11. What happened to water?

    It seems I see little kids only drinking milk or juice. The older kids I see seem to drink soda, Starbucks (so much caffeine for little bodies!), Gatorade etc. I know sometimes we need a little flavor, but in my own life, the more water I drink, the less I crave flavored drinks and the not so healthy things they contain. Although some crushed strawberries, or sliced cucumber in my water normally does the trick when I need flavor.

    …..also be careful about low sugar drinks. They generally contain fake sugar, which many people believe to be much worse for your health than sugar.

  12. That's interesting, I always knew juice wasn't as good as fruit, but I never had the hard facts about why.

    A good documentary to check out is "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price." Really opened my eyes about what Wal-Mart does to communities and local business. Makes me damn proud of my hometown, which has a thriving downtown full of local businesses AND a Wal-Mart. And hopeful that other towns can do the same.

    Also, the way they treat their employees is deplorable.

  13. The same could be said for the V8 Commercials. First the one with the couple at dinner and NEITHER of them have a point toward their 5 servings a day is just really, really sad. But to say that the only time you get veggies is from a juice is ever worse. I think there is just a serious lack of education and lead by example in our modern world of convenience foods.

    As for Wal-Mart, they may have horrendous business practices, but it ultimately comes down to the consumer. If we continue to feed the pig, it will continue to grow. Stopping middle income and lower people from purchasing cheap goods is like taking a child away from a mother at this point.

  14. I don't mind juice as a treat occasionally, NOT as a serving of fruit.

    I do, however, feel as though I am constantly defending Wal-mart. I don't shop there often, as I am tiring of crowded stores. But, I worked at a local Wal-mart here and was treated very well. I was able to work weekends only, was offered benefits, had an employee discount, and I enjoyed my job. I made nearly as much at Wal-mart as I had working as a medical assistant in an orthopedic office for several years.

    The Wal-Marts in our community are involved, are fair, and I'm grateful they keep other "big box stores" from running the prices through the roof! By the way, I shop many local stores and our farmer's market as much as possible, but quality is my first priority, not the name on the store!

  15. Irritated by this for so many reasons.

    1.) To put it bluntly: Wal-Mart sucks.

    2.) Juice boxes are not fruit.

    3.) Those little straws and straw wrappers. I stopped buying juice boxes years ago when I became conscious to the litter problem and began picking up other peoples trash. Ever picked up litter at a park?? Those little plastic straw wrappers and straws are littered everywhere. Litter that isn't picked up eventually makes it to the ocean.(yes, even from a thousand miles inland–everything is connected) Check out my friends' blog:

    4.) Plastic! Plastic is made from oil… something we should all be limiting our usage of if we at all want to change the future of our dependency on oil and make sure that what is happening in the Gulf never happens again. (sorry, rant!!)

    5.) Besides the plastic… the packaging can't be reused and can't even be recycled!! Time to REDUCE….when we do buy juice, I buy it in glass containers…. my kids don't get soda so juice is considered a "special" drink.

  16. 100% juice in any form is a huge step up from most of the beverages we should be serving our kids. Would it be great if it were sold in half-gallon or gallon containers and portioned out by parents in reusable cups or bottles? You bet. Would it be better if it were fresh-squeezed or pressed? Sure! But is a juice box a better choice than partial-juice drinks, or punch-type drinks, or soda? Every single time.

    As for Wal-Mart, downtowns everywhere have done just fine fading, and emptying out, on their own, even in communities with no Wal-Mart. Ithaca, for example, saw a huge decline because the mall went in up the hill, and chain eateries joined the local eateries that were out on the four-lane highway stretch south of downtown, along with the car dealerships and a couple of strip malls. When Wal-Mart finally arrived despite years of counter-efforts, it brought a huge number of jobs inside the city limits, and at least until the entire economy tanked two years ago, pretty much single-handedly rescued our sales tax base. All the people from outlying towns had been going to other counties to shop at their Wal-Mart stores, because that's where they could afford to shop. Now we have some of that business back.

  17. I don't understand how the 'average' parent doesn't know that juice is bad for kids. Each time my kids have a check up, the doctor reminds us and it's on the reminder sheet we take home. (And she always seems surprised my kids don't drink juice – only water and milk).

  18. Oh thank God, a place where I can say "I don't like Walmart" and not be crucified. I have been in Walmarts in five different states at various points in my life(37 years) and not one has ever been anything like the freakishly happy, Stepford-ian Utopia portrayed in the television ads. They suck the life out of small towns. They control what we can and can't buy at other stores – can't find your favorite salad dressing anymore? The company probably stopped making it because Walmart wouldn't buy it. I avoid them at all costs, but on occasion I'm suckered in to going, and just being in the store sets my teeth on edge. It's a point of ridicule amongst my immediate and extended family, that I think I'm too good for Walmart. I just think there's more to life than Walmart has to offer, you know? If I said I didn't like Target, no one would care, but I say I don't like Walmart and it's like I've announced that I eat stewed infants for breakfast every morning.

    Oh, juice? We have Capri Sun Roarin' Waters around for fun, and if someone has to take a completely disposable lunch. Simply Juice orange with breakfast, apple after school with snack. Water and milk other than that, an occasional root beer on a really special occasion. We don't count juice as a fruit serving, but I sometimes count a V8 vegetable juice(not the fruit/vegetable kind) as a vegetable serving for myself.

  19. I find juice boxes to be a waste of time when it comes to lunch especially the Capri Suns because if you don't angle the straw just right you poke it through the back. I remember when I was in daycare that happening even when the teacher put the straw in the pouch.

    I don't mind Wal-Mart at all. My only complaints are there are never enough checkers at the front and the clothing. Wal-Mart where I'm from has dozens of extra smalls and on occasions lots of plus size but no middle sizes. Like all people that shop at Wal-Mart are at either end of the unhealthy spectrum.

  20. Juice once a month, maybe, as a sugar treat. No more. Yes, I know that would put the juice people out of business, but they sell packaged sugar water.

  21. I'm hesitant to just buy juice boxes with the latest news about the lead content in them.
    As far as Wal-Mart, I am not a fan of the store. I live in a rural area and there were a few family stores that went out of business after they moved in.

  22. I give my kids watered down juice and have since they were old enough to have it. I certainly don't count it as fruit!

    I haven't shopped at Wal Mart in years. Originally it was because it was always dirty, the ailes were blocked by people just hanging out and chatting, and the few cashiers there were on each shift were never friendly. After watching "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" I can see why they aren't happy or friendly.

  23. It's hard for me to admit the facts about juice, mainly because I love it so much. I don't drink it often, but when I do it's 100% and usually just at breakfast on the weekend. But I know once kids are in the picture I won't be substituting it for fruit. I know some people who let their kids suck down box after box of 10% juice, and that just makes me sick thinking about it.

    I'm a WalMart hater, always have been. I know too much about their business and their track record with employees to ever shop there again.

  24. We will buy caprisun's about once a month, usually when we're planning a picnic or something. When they have juice, it's in a jug and they drink it out of *gasp* a glass cup. They're allowed 1 glass a day (about 8-10 oz). Anything beyond that is milk or water, and I have found that my 5-year-old CRAVES water now.

    It sounds like a few moms on here limit milk, too, but I don't see a problem with letting them have their 1%. It's not chocolate milk, it's not whole milk, and it's keeping them from breaking their bones along side all their friends and family.

    Walmart….. I'm on the fence. I've worked there twice. Once was at a store in a bigger city, and I loved it. It was fun, I got my breaks, and life moved on. As for the comment about they pay low enough to qualify for food stamps… that's really only if you have 3 or 4 people in your house, and most of the employees in our area were either single fresh-from-high-school kids, or adults with 2 jobs or enough seniority to make more than that. I actually made more there than I had at any of my previous retail jobs.

    The second store was in a VERY small town. We're talking 1 run-down hardware store, Walmart, 1 McD's, and a theater that was big enough to play a whopping 2 movies at a time. I HATED working at that one. The mentality down there was so out of whack, it was misserable to be around. BUT… they offered a lot of products that you couldn't get without driving 3 hours out of down to get to them.

    Now, I find that I don't like the crowds and they have departments where I'm finding they carry JUST enough stuff to be able to say they have that department (crafts and fabrics should be called beads, yarn, and fabrics), but I shop there anyway because I can't afford not to. And it's super close to my house.

  25. We had juice boxes when my kids were younger. My daughter would not drink plain water or even lightly flavored water. She is on medication which requires that she drink plenty of fluids so juice boxes, juices and heavily flavored waters were our only option for her. Thankfully, now that she is older, she's drinking just plain water and actually enjoys it. She has a Thermos water bottle that she keeps filled with ice cold water.

    As for Wal-Mart, there are pros and cons to ANY chain store. How retail employees are treated at ANY store varies depending on management and company policy. I don't think anything is as black and white as we seem to think.

  26. Given my experience it's not a surprise I don't like Walmart. That will never change. I also found the Walmart in my hometown to be disorganized, messy, and not a pleasant place in which to shop. I shop at Target occasionally, but not very often cause I can't leave there having spent less than $50 and that is not in the budget!

  27. Fine for a child who needs additional calories. Silly for any child who doesn't.

    I am proud to say I have never purchased a juice box for my child and don't plan on it. Nor do I buy juice for the home, except on special occasions, such as having people over for brunch. He's allowed to have juice boxes when given them by others at special occasions, like birthday parties, or brunches where juice is included. If it's not a box, I'll water it down to 50-70% water and he still loves it.

  28. I'd also like to add that our kid drinks splashes of juice, but I make sure that when he does, it's paired with a protein to avoid a spike in blood sugar. For example, a snack of cheese, raisins and cheerios, if he requests juice, he gets a tiny splash in a cup in addition to water or milk that he might be drinking.

  29. I like the Vruit boxes. But water/milk and watered fruit juice is what is drank at home.

  30. We rarely use juice boxes, although they are handy when kids have a field trip and must bring a sack lunch from home because the teachers insist that it be all disposable (they can transport the lunch bags there but can't bring them back home? don't ask me.)

    We have the Rubbermaid reusable drink "boxes" and most days kids take milk/soymilk or water for lunch. We rarely have juice in the house but when we do, I will sometimes send it for lunch. I try to buy the calcium fortified juice when I do purchase it. I still dilute juice for myself & kids because it's so stinkin' sweet to our palates.

    As to whether or not to count juice as a fruit serving… I guess to me it depends. If you are counting fiber servings, no of course fruit or vegetable juice would not count. However most fruit juices do contain a lot of vitamin C so in that sense, sure it could count as a fruit serving. My in-laws have a juicer and often make juice including carrots and dark leafy greens so in terms of vitamin A, I'd count that as a veggie serving. If you're getting enough fiber from other sources, I don't think the occasional glass of juice is going to trash your diet. An orange would probably be better for you but a glass of OJ isn't the end of the world. The important thing to remember, IMO, is serving size. Actual juice glasses are teeny weeny, but does anybody use that serving size any more?

    On a related note, my daughter was looking at a magazine yesterday and showed me an ad that tickled her. I think it was for juice and it said "Grape is a fruit, not a flavor." 🙂

  31. When I was a kid my beverage of choice was usually iced tea. Is that weird? I haven't seen that mentioned by a single person here.

    I've also never had any problem with water. So many people say kids won't drink water. Well, when I was thirsty I sure did! (Sodas and juice don't quench like just plain water does.)

    On Wal-Mart, I don't like them but I'm not sure if they're really worse than any other big box stores. When I worked at Target I made $6.50 an hour (this was before they raised minimum wage), and often had to work 9 hour shifts with no breaks. My sister worked at Blockbuster and they made her work EVERY SINGLE HOLIDAY (come on, if you're going to make her work Xmas, at least give her Thanksgiving off!) As far as I can tell, unless you have a really cool manager who tries not to, ALL those big corporate chain stores, fast food restaurants, etc. treat their employees like slaves.

    Though, I don't shop there much because their stuff is usually of poor quality. Produce rots the day after I buy it, the clothes are cheaply made, and appliances break in less than a year. You get what you pay for, I guess.

  32. My daughter drinks juice, but only about 1 ounce to every 5 ounces of water. She prefers it that way and is able to drink more of it than the pure juice that other relatives might give her.

    As far as Walmart goes, we NEVER shop there. I would rather support my local and family owned businesses in our city. I love our city, we have boutiques, cafes and tiny shops in our downtown strip and family run bakeries and specialty food stores uptown. If that were to disappear I don't think I'd care if I lived here or not.

    We are on a very tight budget but Walmart isn't necessary. Sure we can't get hash brown patties for 3$ a bag anywhere else (not even worth dealing with the crowds and traffic) but I guess we will have to survive with the hash browns I make with fresh potatoes from the farmer's market! Walmart only helps you save when it comes to convenience.

    Besides that my husband worked at Walmart in the automotive department as a mechanic. He had finished studying to be a mechanic and they treated him like garbage. He didn't earn any more than a cashier, no benefits, and they turned the heat off on them during the winter because they said 'it doesn't get cold enough here' (we live in Vancouver). He says it was the worst time in his life, and no amount of savings can get him to even tolerate a shopping trip back there!

  33. Juice boxes, meh. Hate them. I teach at a small, private school, where the kids all pack their own lunches. They never finish the juice, so they don't want to throw it away. I hate waste too, so it sits on there desk until they leave. And the wrappers and straws. I almost want to ban the stupid things. Plus, the juice tastes funny and then there's the lead problem.
    As to Wal-Mart…I also have anxiety issues. It's a good day if I can go into Wal-Mart without having an anxiety attack because of the crowds and constant barrage of multiple advertisements. Ick.
    And their business practices. Wal-Mart has 2 sales-tax line items. One for the local government and one for them. Check it out and read Free Lunch if you need to:

  34. I really don't understand where all this hype about plastic and its hate comes from.

    Plastic is no worse than paper in every regard. It takes the same amount of time for plastic to decompose as paper does, and both of them easily fill up our dumps. In the long run, both plastic and paper are a nuisance for our landfills.

    Please do your research before you guys end up listening to bogus day-to-day rumors.

  35. As a new parent I found myself thinking I was lucky that my 9 month old daughter eats every fruit and vegetable I give her. I have given her a wide variety and so far she likes it all. Then I read other commenter’s here saying they are lucky their kids prefer veggies & fruit. It occurred to me that maybe it's not so much luck as it is good parenting. We’re doing the right thing by exposing our kids to the healthy stuff, avoiding or limiting the not so great stuff, having a consistent regular diet of fruits and veggies and teaching them from the beginning about making good choices and by setting a good example ourselves.

    My daughter does drink water and I will eventually add juicy water to her beverage options occasionally. I believe in moderation and generally trying to live healthy (not perfect). I'm not a fan of juice boxes for all of the same reasons listed here. Juice as a fruit serving? Is common sense really so hard to come by? I mean really!

    As far as W4lmart goes, I could live without it. I understand that they employ many who would not necessarily have better employment opportunity elsewhere and that they have low prices which are essential to frugal families (we are a frugal family as well). Unfortunately, the low prices come at the expense of mom & pop shops and small communities. I also don't agree with how they have been known to treat their employees in order to get around benefits, wage increases, etc. I personally avoid W4lmart and try to shop smart elsewhere.

  36. I get so sick of people bashing Walmart. It sucks when locally owned businesses go out of business when a Walmart moves into town. But if other stores sold stuff as cheap as Walmart does, and had everything I need in one place, I'd shop there. But they don't, and that's why I shop at Walmart. Maybe when I'm rich enough to buy everything organic and shop at a store like Whole Foods, I will. But until then, it's usually Walmart because I can get affordable food for my family, and my pets, as well as non-food items without breaking the bank.

    As far as how they "treat" their workers, I was just looking at that Wake Up Walmart site, and it says the average employee there makes almost $12 an hour (and barely less than the average retail job, so I don't get what the big deal is to begin with). What's wrong with that?? If you want to make more than $12 an hour, get a college education and a real job. They work in a grocery store, for crying out loud! No offense intended, but it doesn't exactly take a lot of brains to run a register or stock shelves. They're lucky they get more than minimum wage, as far as I'm concerned.

    I'm college educated and work in marketing for a real estate company–an industry where providing things like health benefits isn't very common. Where's my public outcry? Just because Walmart is a huge corporation people care so much about how they treat their employees, but what about the rest of us who worked hard to get a college education so we could get a higher paying job, and still don't get the benefits that many people get?

  37. I don't shop at Walmart. There are other cheap places, but Walmart's business practices are pretty awful. I also think that places like Walmart encourage the consumerist society we live in. You buy more than you would otherwise, because they sell things so cheaply and at the same time promote a "need" for things you don't really need. If we all had to take the time to drive or walk to several different places, and had to pay a bit more (and got quality merchandise) perhaps we'd all consume a little less. Better for the planet.

    Plus, it really bothers me that these stores sell everything in one place –I don't want to buy groceries and stereo equipment at the same store. I think it's a given that both the groceries and stereo equipment will be sub-par. We spend far too much time thinking about finding the cheapest price, and too little time thinking about finding the product that is best. This is so especially true for food.

  38. To Anonymous, Walmart prices are so low because of their size and ability to take advantage of and crush everything in their path. Small, local stores cannot buy in such bulk therefore cannot compete on Walmart's level.

    I personally avoid Walmart and shot there on very rare occasions. However, I'm a huge fan of Target where you get far bette quality for a little more money, or the same price. I'm curious am I totally ignorant or does Target simply do things right? I'm sure that they're not as bad as Walmart but do they have similar practices? Does anyone know?

    thanks, Lin

  39. When I was in high school (in the mid-1980s), I developed an intolerance to milk. We were only allowed to drink milk at lunch. I had to have a dr's note on file to exempt me from drinking the milk. I wanted to drink water for lunch (that's what I drank at home), but in lieu of the milk, I was required to only bring a juice box. I hated apple and orange was kind of gross in a box so I bro't grape. My mom was not thrilled and the grape was far sweeter than I cared for, but that was the only allowed product.

    I don't think juice is horrible, but if I were going to drink it now (I can't anymore), I would choose the lowest sugar content possible and try to get the kind w/ pulp/fiber. Even then I think juice is only good occasionally. I must admit that I do kind of like cranberry juice (very little actual fruit) and pomegranate (great when watered down w/ seltzer water), but by no stretch of the imagination would I consider this a serving of fruit.

  40. I worked at Wal-mart twice throughout my high school and college years. Out of all of my teenage era jobs (daycare teacher, restaurant, HR Rep, on-campus), they paid me the most at 11.50 for a cashier and I knew some who made 12+.

    The second time I worked there was because everyone was putting me a minimum wage, and Wal-mart was going 3.00 over. I live in Texas, so it's not some Northern state with high min wage – it was 5.25 the first time I worked there, and 6.25 the second.

    Perhaps Wal-mart gets this bad rap because they're the biggest and easiest to pick on. Also, I'd bet the people on food stamps would have to be on food stamps working at any similar job that doesn't require an education.

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