PediaSure would like you to think that SideKicks will help you balance out your picky eater’s uneven diet.

What SideKicks will really help you do is train your kids’ tiny tastebuds away from healthy foods and towards junk. In other words, they’ll help ruin your kids’ eating habits.

The SideKicks website says:

Each shake is a source of 7g protein, 3g fiber, and 25 essential vitamins and minerals for kids who are growing fine but missing nutrients.

PediaSure SideKicks is a fancy form of sugar water.

OK. It is a fancy form of sugar water with added protein. And added vitamins.

Big deal. Kids don’t eat nutrients; they eat flavors. And flavors shape habits.

strong>Each bottle of PediaSure SideKicks has 17 grams—more than 4 teaspoons— of sugar.

In fact, sugar is the second ingredient, after water. Check out the ingredients.

If you have trouble getting your kids to eat vegetables, look at how many sweet foods you feed them.

  • Ask yourself how PediaSure SideKids will help your kids like vegetables.
  • Then, read Training Tiny Taste Buds (I’ve reprinted it below) and see how many foods have less sugar than juice (and PediaSure).


If you give your kids juice for the nutrients, you would be better off giving them Froot Loops.

Froot Loops has more vitamins than juice.  It also has less sugar – 12g per serving instead of 20-23g in the typical 6.75-ounce juice box.

Of course, giving your kids Froot Loops every day would teach them the wrong habits, and it would get their taste buds used to too much sugar, but that’s the point.

Most 100% apple, grape, punch and other “kid-friendly” blends have around 3g of sugar per ounce.  For a point of reference, Coke has 3.3g of sugar per ounce.

True, Juicy Juice is made from juice concentrate – a natural sugar — but your kids’ taste buds can’t tell the difference.

  • According to the USDA, juice concentrate is a euphemism for added sugar. In other words, sugar is sugar.
  • 100% juice may give your children 100% of their Vitamin C needs, but that’s only because the Vitamin C has been added.  In other words, it’s fortified sugar.

To drive the point home, here are 10 other delicacies that have less sugar than juice.

Some of these treats have vitamins, and others have less desirable tidbits such as fat and calories, but here is how the sugar stacks up.

Compared to the 20-23g of sugar in the typical Juicy Juice box…

1) Juice Drinks: Capri Sun Original fruit drinks have only 16g of sugar per 6.75-ounce pouch. Even 8 ounces of Sunny D has only 20g.

2) Sweetened Cereals:  A bowl of Fruity Pebbles has 11g of sugar.  Even Count Chocula has only 12g per bowl.

3) Fruit Leather:  One pouch of Stretch Island Fruit Leather, Autumn Apple flavor, has 9g of sugar.

4) Fruit Flavored Candy:  One pouch of Kellogg’s Barbie Fruit Flavored Snack has 13g of sugar.

5) Popsicles: One Dreyer’s Fruit Bar Grape has 20g of sugar.

6) Pop-Tarts:  One Kellogg’s Pop-Tart Frosted Blueberry has 17g of sugar.

7) Cereal Bars: Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Mixed Berry Bar has 12g of sugar.

8) Donuts:  One Dunkin’ Donuts Strawberry Frosted Donut has 14g of sugar.

9) Flavored Water: One pouch of Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters has only 7g of sugar.(Isn’t that a lot for water?)

Guess what?  Even some chocolate beats juice in the sugar department.

10) Chocolate: Caramel-Filled Hershey’s Kisses have 21g of sugar. One Reese’s Peanut Butter Big Cup has19g of sugar.

Kids come out of the shoot ready for sweet, but you don’t need to encourage it.

If your kids have a limited palate, especially when it comes to veggies, I recommend you look to juice as a hidden culprit.

In fact, juice is one of the easiest places to clean up your kids’ eating act.

Read Juice: Apple, Grape, PunchCoke Beats Juice.

Juices aren’t all created equal – orange juice has something to offer – but the juices and juice drinks that most kids consume are some combination of apple, pear and/or grape juice.

Even Capri Sun Juice Drink Sunrise Orange Wake Up.

Ingredients: Water, Sugar, Apple and Orange Juice Concentrates, Calcium Lactate, Citric Acid, Water Extracted Orange Juice Concentrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural Flavor.

Most parents keep their eye on their children’s sugar consumption, but look in the wrong places. 

Even though my family loves juice, I have to say: if you wouldn’t serve your kids Froot Loops on a daily basis, remember that juice is worse.  Not only does it generally replace water, but it gives your kids the wrong idea about what is healthy.

Most of all, juice trains (and trains again) your kids’ taste buds to enjoy the flavor they already love – sweet.

So teach your kids to use juice like the candy it is (sparingly and as a treat) and you’ll be teaching them the habits they need for a lifetime of healthy eating. In the short run, weaning your kids off sugar might just help them open up to broccoli too.  Read Ways to Wean Your Juice-Fiend.

~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~


All websites accessed 5/28/2010