Glycerol-Free Slushie Alternatives for Kids

Since the 1950s and ‘60s, American kids have been slurping on slushies. Colorful, sweet, and ice-cold, these frozen drinks make the perfect summer refreshment. While most people are aware of a slushie’s high sugar content, there may be another threatening ingredient hiding in the ice. Recent reports from the UK found that glycerol could be the bigger villain.
What is Glycerol?
Glycerol is one of the building blocks of fat. It’s a sweet-tasting, non-toxic liquid known as glycerine or glycerin. We can obtain natural glycerol by fermenting sugars from soybeans, palm, or tallow. We can also make synthetic glycerol from propene.
Its sweet taste and humectant properties make it the perfect sugar-free sweetener for slushies. It helps maintain the slushie’s consistency and prevents it from melting. Unlike water, glycerol freezes at 62°F (17°C). Mixing glycerol with water in a slushy raises the freezing point of the mixture, allowing it to remain in the semi-solid state we enjoy for longer.
Glycerol also prevents slushies from separating and contributes towards the formation of smaller ice crystals, which give the slushy a smoother texture.
Glycerol Intoxication in Young Slushy Drinkers
In 2021, a young child in Scotland was rushed to the hospital for a severe headache, nausea, and other unexplainable symptoms. In 2022, a similar incident occurred just a few miles away. The children were intoxicated, which was later attributed to an overconsumption of glycerol.
In 2023, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued new frozen drink industry guidelines. It advised parents to restrict the consumption of glycerol-containing drinks. According to the FSA, children under four should not be drinking more than one 350ml slushie within an hour, and retailers should avoid offering free refills to children under 10.
The FSA also urged manufacturers of frozen drinks to lower their products’ glycerol content to the minimum concentration required to achieve the slushy consistency.
Healthier Slushy Alternatives for Kids
While not all brands use glycerol in their recipes, and you can make slushies without it, choosing homemade, fruit-based drinks is often healthier. Here are three slushy alternatives to keep your kids cool on a hot summer’s day:

  • Fruit Smoothies
    You can make a creamy smoothie for your kids using fresh fruit, yogurt, and honey. This homemade slushie alternative contains zero artificial sweeteners or preservatives and contains nutrients and fiber. It’s also the ideal snack for toddlers and young children who prefer soft foods.

  • Frozen Fruit Juice
    Freezing fresh fruit juice can preserve its flavor and nutritional content for up to a year, depending on the ingredients. It contains more vitamins and minerals and less sugar than a slushy with a similar frozen texture. You can serve the fruit juice half-frozen to achieve a slushy consistency, or freeze it completely and serve it as a sorbet.

  • Homemade Iced Tea
    Herbal teas like chamomile or rooibos are perfect for children because they are caffeine-free. To make homemade iced tea, brew your tea in a large pot, then add fruit and crushed ice with honey to taste. You can also create an herbal tea slushy by leaving your tea in the freezer for a few hours or allowing it to freeze completely for a frozen tea popsicle.

Choose Natural Flavorings for Healthier Beverages
The recent glycerol intoxication cases have caused many parents to question the ingredients in their children’s favorite foods and drinks. At Advanced Biotech, we believe pure and natural ingredients are the best way to go. Explore our range of 100% natural and organic flavorings to find the healthier ingredients for your frozen beverages. Please contact us for more information.