Rugrats underfoot? Trying to avoid giving them lots of sugar? Beverages present something of a conundrum. Once kids get a taste of juice, plain old water ceases to appeal. But juice is full of sugar, empty calories—and it costs an arm and a leg.

One option is to heavily dilute their juice with water, and get them used to a milder sweetness. Another option? Iced tea. It’s cheap, and gives kiddos flavor without all that sugar. Make a big pitcher of diluted iced tea. Celestial Seasonings has good herbal options, or check in our book because we grow our own (herbs) for teas and have some wonderful tips. If need be, add a tiny bit of honey. Or opt for agave nectar, which has a low glycolic index (unlike sucrose) and so doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Just be aware that some herbal teas can be quite potent–and as always check with a doc if you’re adding a new ‘ingredient’ into their  little systems!

Plus, tea is just so much more sophisticated than juice. Your little one will be a pinky-flagging biscuit-eater in no time. Just be sure to choose a caffeine-free option—otherwise the strategy backfires, and Johnny’s dancing on the ceiling all afternoon.