Getting ready for a picnic at the beach, I needed to select a non-alcoholic beverage for the outing. I elected not to get a soda, and thought I would look for something more healthy. While perusing the drinks in the store cooler, I ran across a one quart square carton of “strawberry banana nectar”. It seemed like a better choice for health reasons rather than my usual choice of colas or lemonade drinks. So I grabbed it and popped it into my beach cooler.
Pouring the Nectar on the Beach
Later on at the beach, as we were getting out the paper plates and all the goodies for lunch, I got out the strawberry banana nectar. I poured it into all of our plastic cups. It had a pleasant taste, and the strawberry banana flavor and was quite sweet and flavorful. I was pretty sure that I had found a good substitute for the sugary soda drinks we might have consumed.
Examining the Contents on the Beach-Discovering New Facts
After having gulped down a few cups of the nectar, I was curious to check out the ingredients and see if my initial choice had been a healthy one. I was hoping to justify my choice of what seemed to be a healthy food selection. But as I began to examine the ingredients on the label, I found they included the following:
Ingredients: Water, strawberry puree from concentrate, banana puree, sugar, citric acid, asorbic acid, natural flavor, carmel color, sucralose. Per FDA protocols the ingredients listed on the product are ordered by the weight (mass) of each ingredient not the volume.
Diving Deeper- Ingredients in the Strawberry Banana Nectar
– Water: Good old H2O, Being the main ingredient, most of what we pay for is water.
– Strawberry Nectar: This is puree from concentrate.
– Banana Puree: As it says. Mashed up bananas into a puree. (A note on the carton said that both of these purees make up 12 percent of the juice.)
– Sugar: Regular cane or beet sugar added for sweetness.
– Citric Acid: Some Lemon Juice.
– Ascorbic Acid: (Vitamin C)
How Does Strawberry Banana Nectar Compare to a Regular Soft Drink?
Generic Cola: Serving Size: 8 oz (10 servings per plastic bottle)
Let’s take a look at a 2.5 Liter Bottle of generic cola. Typically, it too is a lot of water with some carbonation, a number of types of sugars, coloring,caffeine and flavoring.
Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Carmel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Caffeine, Natural Flavor, Sucrlose. Taken one at a time:
– Carbonated Water: Main Ingredient is water- carbonated (infused with carbon dioxide).
– High Fructose Corn Syrup: In so many foods; probably GMO unless stated otherwise; just corn sugar.
– Carmel Color: Coloring of some kind.
– Phosphoric Acid: Found in dark colored soda drinks. Used to acidify beverages.
– Caffeine: Often found in colas and soda drinks; typical dose is 30mg/8oz of beverage.
– Natural Flavor: Not stated what flavors are involved.
– Sucralose: An artificial sweetener, more than 600 times the sweetness of sugar. It is non caloric; and therefore, not broken down by the body. Consequently, it has no calories and boosts sweetness in the juice.
Comparisons of Strawberry Banana Nectar with Other Beverages
Strawberry Banana Nectar: It is essentially a drink made of 12 percent fruit juice concentrates, mixed into a water solution. Added are sugars, colors, and modifiers.
Negatives: A good way to consume unnecessary calories in the form of 3 sugars. Most benefit is the water & Vitamin C, but wouldn’t just a bottle of water be better?
Positives: Does not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), at least in this brand. Has 100% daily requirement of Vitamin C per serving (8oz). No Fats.
Generic Cola: Once again lots of water, some carbonation, 3 forms of sugar. Coloring & some acid to make it slightly bitter. No fats.
Negatives: Lots of sugar, bad for people with sugar concerns – such as diabetics. No Vitamin C.
Cost for Each Product: Sample Pricing from Local Market
Strawberry Banana Nectar: $1.75 for the 33.8 oz. Cost per oz.= about 5 cents/oz.
Cola Beverage: $1.55 / 2.64 Quart = 32 oz/qt x 2.6 = Cost per oz. = about 2 cents/oz.
How to Make Strawberry Banana Smoothie AKA: Strawberry Banana Nectar at Home
Easy strawberry banana smoothie recipe:
Add one banana and 4oz. of fresh or frozen Strawberries to Blender:
Add 4 oz. of sugar, 12oz of water and one Vitamin C Pill.(optional)
I Blended it up and found it to be less sugary than soda or the Strawberry and Banana Nectar. This is mainly because I chose to reduce the amount of sugar. Interestingly, I got about as much puree in my 8 oz. glass as I would have received in an ENTIRE 33 oz. carton of Strawberry and Banana Nectar! In addition, the only other ingredient worthwhile was the Vitamin C. My cost was 1ea banana – 15 cents, 4oz of strawberries – 28 cents, sugar -2 cents and Vitamin C pill – 6 cents.
So that is my take on how to make a strawberry banana smoothie. My home brew banana strawberry nectar cost about 51 cents/8oz. or about 6.5 cents/oz. My cost was about the same as the “store bought” version, but gave me a slightly fresher taste, and contained a lot fewer calories, as I reduced the sugar.
Final Conclusion – Strawberry Banana Nectar Evaluation
In the final analysis, when choosing a beverage, I probably should have taken some bottled water to the beach. Next time, if I get motivated, and have the time and ingredients close at hand, I will toss them all in the blender. For sure, I will get more strawberry banana juice, less sugar, a more satisfactory taste, and save some money in the bargain. From a health perspective, I think that the store bought strawberry and banana nectar is a better choice than the soda, but not by much. But both get beat out by the home made simple strawberry banana smoothie recipe.
Have you ever faced this dilemma? Maybe you were going to the beach or the park for a picnic. Leave a comment in the box below and let me know what kind of drinks you have taken in your picnic basket. Would you take Strawberry and Banana Nectar, Cola or Water? I am really interested to know what your have done or will do in the future.