It seems like juice boxes are just a fact of life. I slurped them as a kid, and many parents still rely on them for school lunches today. But as we’re learning that juice for kids may not be as healthful as we once thought, I’m re-evaluating what should go into packed lunches. Happily, I’ve found three awesome low-sugar drinks for school lunch that can serve as a tasty alternative to high-sugar juice boxes.

Related: After school snacks that go easy on the sugar.

Low-sugar juice box alternatives for school lunch: Coconut water | Cool Mom Eats

Coconut water

While it’s hard to find kid-specific coconut water, many sellers make 8 or 11 oz. boxes that will nestle perfectly into lunch boxes (you can add this to your back-to-school Costco list to get the best deal). If your kids can’t get past the subtly sweet flavor, try pouring coconut water into their their thermos and adding natural sweetness with blended fruit. I love this Watermelon Agua Fresca recipe from Kitchen Treaty that adds a hint of flavor without the refined sugar.


Low-sugar juice box alternatives for healthier school lunches: Yogurt drinks | Cool Mom Eats

Yogurt drinks

I like any lunch box item that solves two problems at once. And if your kids like yogurt smoothies or kefir, you’re in luck, because they carry loads of calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics, in addition to helping keep kids hydrated. The only problem is that many yogurt drinks are also super high in sugar. What’s a parent to do?!

Stacie featured our sponsor Stonyfield’s YoKids Pouches on her list of low-sugar after school snacks because, it turns out, they are lowering sugar in all of their YoKids products. Honestly, yogurt pouches are pretty much yogurt drink in different packaging and a smaller size (which also helps keep sugar low). Given that, I think they’d make a great substitute for a juice pouch in your kid’s lunch box. Just make sure to also pack water for deeper hydration since these are only about 4 oz.

Related: 5 playful school lunches to make back to school fun for everyone.

Low-sugar juice box alternatives for healthier school lunches: Honest Tea | Cool Mom Eats

Honest Tea

We’ve been fans of Honest Kids from Honest Tea for years now, but we’re even more sold now that they’ve eliminated refined sugar. You read right! Their drinks contain a mere nine grams of the natural stuff. Plus, Honest Tea partners with TerraCycle to make sure as many of the used containers as possible get recycled, so you can feel all-around great about reaching for those convenient pouches.


Low-sugar juice box alternatives for healthier school lunches: Juice in a Box reusable juice boxes | Cool Mom Eats

DIY juice boxes

If the thought of crinkled juice boxes piling up in landfills makes you cringe — or you just want the ultimate control over what your kids drinks — consider these Juice in the Box reusable juice boxes that Liz found. You can fill them with whatever you want — you know, that your kids will actually sip. If you need inspiration, check out our favorite low-sugar green juices or take a look at Kate’s tips on keeping kids hydrated, which include this lovely DIY Strawberry Lime Water.