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How I Got My Kid To Start Drinking Water And Ditch The Juice Box

By the time my second child entered elementary school, I had the packed-lunch routine down to a science: ham and cheese sandwich with no crust (cut in triangles, not rectangles), carrot sticks with a peanut butter to-go cup, a juice box, and a piece of fruit for snack-time.

I mean it was all kid's food, sure. But I still felt like I was teaching them the healthy eating habits they needed to grow up strong. So I was completely taken by surprise when I overheard my first grader Sophie say, "Yuck, I hate water. It tastes bad." Then it hit me: even though I prided myself on raising kids that would eat vegetables and fruit without (too much) complaint, I had let them have juice boxes whenever they asked. Not to mention, it's too easy for them to pick up soda in the lunch-line without me even knowing. Somewhere between soccer practices and dance recitals and homework and back to school shopping, it slipped my mind to worry about what they were drinking as well as what they were eating.

I rushed to check out the nutrition information on the juice my kids drank with every meal, and found a total horror story: 19 grams of sugar for a tiny juice box. That's more than a whole chocolate bar!! Images of cavities and obesity and other ailments flooded my imagination as I Googled furiously, hoping to find some advice on my parenting Facebook groups about raising kids to like water. That's where I first heard about Hint Kids. Hint Kids is naturally flavored water that comes in variety packs that look just like juice boxes. Hint water has no calories, no sugar, no diet sweetener, and no calories -- it's just water, flavored with natural fruit essence, so kids get the flavor without the sugar. I ordered a variety pack in my daughter's favorite juice flavors, apple and cherry, and breathed a little easier hoping help was on the way.

That night, I decided to test how bad my daughter's aversion to H2O really was. At dinner time, instead of giving her a juice box when she asked, I told her she had to drink a whole glass of water first. She threw a total fit. After about fifteen minutes of her screaming and the rest of my family just wanting to get back to dinner, I gave in and gave her the juice.

When the Hint Kids variety packs arrived, I decided to swap the Hint Kids box for her typical juice box, and she actually really enjoyed it and didn't even throw a temper tantrum about the switch. After a week, she got used to her Hint Kids boxes, and stopped asking where the Minute Maid went. A month later, and instead of juice she asked for Hint by name. I ordered more flavors, and Sophie really liked that she got unique flavors none of her other friends had in their juice boxes, like watermelon and blackberry.

I can't express how relieved I was that my daughter was drinking water and staying hydrated without feeling like it was a punishment. I had done more research and discovered a lot of terrifying information, like sugar can be literally addictive for kids. But Hint Kids looks just like juice boxes, and it has the flavor Sophie's grown accustomed to.

Now I order variety packs from the website three at a time so I never run out, and it costs about 50 cents per box, so it's not more expensive than the juice I was buying before. Hint Kids has been a total busy-mom lifesaver, and when I saw that they have grown-up Hint bottles in tons of cool flavors, I decided to get on the Hint habit to kick my diet soda guilty pleasure. Now my daughter and I both get the kick of flavor we want while hydrating, and it feels great to help Sophie build a foundation of healthy choices that will stick with her for life.

UPDATE: The folks at Hint are offering a special promotion to our readers! Follow this link to get 20% off PLUS free shipping!