All-natural drinks from Crystal Geyser

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated -- if all we had to drink was water, how flat our world would be! Water is still the main drink in our household, but I feel that offering occasional sweet drinks is a great way to get more water into my kids (and Alfie and me!). Crystal Geyser recently sent me an assortment of great-tasting beverages that we've tried and enjoyed; here's a quick rundown of Crystal Geyser's all-natural beverage options, with a brief description (in italics) and my take on them:

Juice Squeeze
Made with 70% real fruit juice, a 12 oz. bottle of Juice Squeeze provides a USDA full serving of fruit. Lightly carbonated, the 8 all-natural flavors are sweetened with only fruit juice and contain no added sugar or preservatives.

I'm a big proponent of 100% juice, so seeing "70% juice" on the label of Juice Squeeze sent off red warning flags. But when I read the label more closely, I didn't see sugar or any artificial sweeteners on the list of ingredients, only fruit juice. The other 30% non-juice ingredients are sparkling water, natural flavors, citric acid and some B-complex vitamins, nothing that makes me feel like I'm compromising my kids' health. So Juice Squeeze is back on the list of acceptable products for my kids -- which is a big relief to my kids, since they LOVED the flavor and fizz of the Blackberry Pomegranate and Key Lime samples we tried.

This would make a nice treat for my kids' lunchbox -- except they only come in glass bottles. A plastic bottle version would be great, a smaller (6-oz?) plastic bottle version would be even better!

The world’s only 100% all natural, microbrewed and ready-to-drink iced tea made entirely from select, handpicked tea leaves from the island of Java. Unlike other iced teas, Tejava’s unique microbrewing process eliminates bitterness and yields a rich, distinctive, full-bodied taste. Unsweetened and calorie free, Tejava is made with no added tea flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. Tejava also recently captured first place at the 2011 North American Tea Championship in the Ready-To-Drink-Unflavored Black Tea category.

I'm not a fan of unsweetened tea, but I love Tejava because people have the option to sweeten it to their taste, with whatever sweetener they want -- or not at all. It makes a great base for your favorite iced tea recipe because it has that geniune "tea" taste that only real tea leave can give, unlike those powdered iced tea mixes. You can add real lemon juice and sugar to make lemon iced tea, or use peach juice for peach iced tea. Yum!

California Teas
A low calorie line of 7, all-natural teas (iced and green). The teas contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients, and are lightly sweetened with pure cane sugar (no HFCS). The teas contain 45 calories or less per 8oz. serving. The Fruit Teas contain 10% Real Fruit Juice and Vitamin C, and the Green Teas are fortified with 75mg of Super Antioxidant EGCG.

I'm not a big coffee drinker (again, not a fan of the bitterness!) and flavored iced coffee drinks are too heavy on the cream and calories, so these flavored California Teas are perfect when I need a lift in the middle of the day! When I'm on the go, I don't have the patience to make my own flavored iced tea. I LOVED the apple-flavored green tea; it has just the right hint of sweetness and tartness. I'm glad the kids are too young for tea, because these drinks are all MINE.

Crystal Geyser Sparkling Mineral Water
Natural, refreshing and with carbonation. It can be enjoyed as a healthy alternative to sugared or artificially sweetened soft drinks. The flavored varieties are a blend of our natural mineral water and all-natural fruit essences. Unsweetened and calorie free, it’s available in five delicious flavors.

The orange flavor is a favorite of mine, especially when I'm trying to lose weight. I know water is the best choice, but I love sweet drinks, and this drink is a nice compromise. I get that hint of orange essence to trick my brain into thinking I'm having a sweet drink, but I don't get any of the calories. The kids love the fun bubbly sensation they get from the carbonation, and I'm spared the guilt of giving in to sugary sodas. This one's a regular at our house!

Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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