Thursday, July 24, 2008

waste-free lunches part 3: drinks

Khymi has a stainless steel water bottle with a sport top. It's durable and washable and it replaced her old polycarbonate water bottle in light of all the concerns over BPA. The problem with stainless steel, though, is that it's a conductor--heat and cold go straight through it. We have neoprene insulating sleeves for our stainless steel bottles, but even those only help for so long. So for day camp, where they don't offer refrigeration, we filled up Khymi's water bottle the night before and froze it, leaving a little room at the top for expansion (if you forget to do this, the bottle will get a rounded bottom like a Weeble--we learned the hard way). The only nice thing about stainless steel's lack of insulation is that it cools down really fast in the freezer.

One part of caring for a kid that I haven't really been able to get with is the supposed inevitability of JUICE. Look at the fruit juice aisle in every supermarket and there are tons of choices, many intended specifically for kids. And any juice company who knows anything about marketing to kids knows that they have to offer their product in lunch-sized boxes as well as bottles. But when you think about it, why? What's so essential about juice?

Since I started eating more locally, one thing I really had to reconsider was juice. I used to buy orange juice every week, but here in the Mid-Atlantic there's no such thing as local orange juice. And really, almost any other fruit juice is the same way. Even if it's organic, 100% juice, who knows where it really came from, or how much energy was used to produce and package it?

So now we buy local milk, and we drink filtered tap water. Every now and then, as a treat, we buy a glass bottle of juice or a couple of cans of organic sparkling fruit "soda" from the store. And one of the pleasures of autumn is the arrival of apple cider at the farmers' market.

For these hot summer days at camp, we felt like it was more important to provide Khymi with enough cold water to drink than to satisfy her (typical kid's) desire for a sweet drink like juice. True, juice contains some vitamins and other nutrients, but for that purpose I'd rather she just have the whole fruit. If we happen to have juice at home, we're happy to give her a glass with an afternoon snack or with dinner.

Eliminating something we previously took for granted, like juice, brings me to tomorrow's final post: the behind-the-scenes trash in a portable meal.


David said...

No juice...I don't know how you do it! Although, I am not a believer that kids need to be sucking down gallons of sugar water all day either, but wouldn't you kill for some good OJ?

Maybe I need to re-adjust my expectations if I really want to go local for real...but oh juice. I gave up soda, so juice is all I have! :-)

maria said...

perhaps the #1 reason for me to be jealous of those in warmer climates is the fact that one can potentially have an orange tree, and therefore, fresh-squeezed orange juice. which sounds so ridiculously awesome to me. right up there with avocado trees. but not awesome enough for me to actually move to florida or arizona or southern california.

i think if it mattered more to us, we might consider investing in a steam juicer so we could make our own.

but it's weird, now that i don't drink juice very much, i hardly miss it. if i'm really tired of milk and water, i do like making fruit smoothies and iced tea.

Anonymous said...

Maria: If you would use it much, you can borrow our juicer/steamer indefinitely. We only use it rarely, once every few years. I get by fine without much juice in my diet, except for that 1 glass of OJ first thing every morning, which always tastes like the best thing I've ever had. I think it's more self-abnegating than I could be to deny yourself a little OJ.