Orange juice may still be considered America’s favorite, with the average person drinking 2.7 gallons in 2015. But overall OJ consumption has dwindled in recent years. That is, until influenza reared its ugly head this winter. In just a four-week span ending in mid-January, orange juice sales increased by 0.9% to 38.66 million gallons — the first year-over-year increase in nearly five years.
But the need for vitamin C isn’t limited to flu season alone. There are plenty of reasons to boost immunity all year round, the least of which being that the average child catches between six and 10 colds annually. That said, you don’t have to resign yourself to a simple glass of OJ each morning with breakfast. Here are just a few ways to get your citrus-y fix in an interesting way:
Your kids probably love gummy fruit snacks, but you don’t have to buy them in the store! It’s surprisingly simple to make your own at home. Just get your hands on some silicone fruit snack molds and combine one cup orange juice and seven to eight tablespoons of unflavored gelatin in a bowl. Then, heat another cup of orange juice in a pot over medium heat until it starts to steam. Gradually add one spoonful of the juice-gelatin paste to the pot at a time, whisking throughout. Finally, use a dropper to pour the mixture into the silicone molds and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. Pop them out and enjoy!
Make a Tropical Smoothie
Smoothies have become a welcome alternative to juice because they can act as a vessel for a number of nutrients. If your kids want a fun tropical drink for breakfast or a snack, this is a great way to go. Combine one cup of crushed ice, one cup of grapefruit juice, one peeled and chopped orange, one cup of pineapple chunks, two ripe bananas, and three tablespoons of honey or agave nectar into a blender. Blend until smooth, then add one-half cup of coconut milk and blend again. Then, serve your smoothie and garnish with toasted coconut (optional). You’ll soon feel like you’re on a tropical vacation in the middle of winter!
Go For a Dip
Want to encourage your kids to eat more solid fruit? A healthy, homemade dip can be just the thing. Simply combine two six-ounce containers of low-fat vanilla yogurt, two teaspoons of honey, and two tablespoons of orange juice in a bowl and stir. Chill until you’re ready to serve with fruit skewers. You can use any kind of fruit for the skewers, but we recommend orange segments, pineapple chunks, grapes, strawberries, mango, or bananas. Considering that experts recommend you consume at least 1.5 to 2 servings of fruit every day, this s a fantastic after-school snack or lunchtime accompaniment for the whole family.
Enjoy Juice With a Twist
Not ready to bid farewell to juice? You can switch things up by combining different flavors together. Orange juice makes an excellent base. Try peach-orange, orange-apple-carrot, grapefruit-orange-strawberry, or pineapple-orange-cranberry. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your kids and conduct a taste test to determine the winner!
Orange you glad we put together these simple recipes? While OJ, like all foods and beverages, should be consumed in moderation, it truly is a great way to get a much-needed boost of vitamin C and other important nutrients your body needs. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying whole fruit on its own.