Homemade Flavored Water that Rocks
Do you have a love-hate relationship with drinking water?
Many people do. You need to drink more water during the summer season in order to avoid dehydration, that much is certain, but let’s face it- water is, well, plain. Sometimes you want to quench your thirst with something that has some flavor- a little kick, a touch of sweetness, or just a cooling aftertaste. Short of guzzling down sugary sodas, “energy drinks,” or highly concentrated fruit-ades, what other options are there?
Alternatives to soda
There’s no reason to feel guilty about craving flavored water, as long as you don’t substitute drinking water with sweet sodas, diet sodas, coffee, or caffeinated iced tea. Stay hydrated while satisfying your sweet tooth by brewing up your own homemade flavored water, made with natural food ingredients.
Below are 12 tips for increasing your water intake without sacrificing flavor:
1- Make it fruity. Fill up a pitcher of drinking water, and toss in some fresh fruit for added sweetness without the cavities.
Try it now: experiment with mixed berries, citrus fruits, or the spa special, sliced cucumbers.
2- Juice it. Instead of adding sweetened punch mixes, add some 100 percent natural concentrated fruit juice. Apple juice concentrate makes an excellent sugar substitute for recipes that call for corn syrup or honey.
Try it now: Dilute one part pure mango juice with three parts water for an all-natural fruit-ade.
3- Pour in some bubbly. Sometimes you just gotta have something fizzy. Resist the urge to grab a can of diet soda mindlessly from the cooler. Plain club soda, seltzer water, or sparkling mineral water on ice is so much healthier, not to mention more refreshing.
Try it now: Make your own flavored seltzer. Add grape juice or pineapple juice to a glass of sparkling water.
4- Ice, ice, baby. Ice-cold water tastes better than flat tepid water, hands down. Keep bottled water in your refrigerator at all times. Store a half-full bottle of water in the freezer for field trips; fill-‘er-up and you’ve got instant ice water.
Try it now: For parties, try something different. Instead of regular, square ice cubes, invest in a few designer ice cube molds, and substitute fruit juice for water.
5- Drink herb tea. Commercially bottled iced teas are full of refined sugar, and many contain caffeine, which causes dehydration. Make a jug of home-brewed decaffeinated iced tea, only leave out the sweet stuff.
Try it now: Boil a few cups of water. Add several bags of herbal tea. Allow to seep and cool. Add ice and water, adjusting to taste. Some flavor suggestions: chai decaf, mixed berries, or lemon-chamomile.
6- Add a little electrolyte. Your body loses salty fluids when you perspire. For that reason, many sports drinks contain small amounts of sugar, potassium, and salt. Unfortunately, most electrolyte drinks contain too much sugar, in addition to food colorings and other additives.
Try it now: Make your own healthy sports drink by adding a small amount of salt and orange juice (a natural source of potassium) to your drinking water.
7- Great with grated ginger: Ginger extract is a healthy tonic that also adds a warm, spicy flavor to foods and beverages. Beware, though, because ginger root is more powerful than it looks.
Try it now: Peel and grate a piece of ginger root. Press fresh shavings through a garlic press. Catch the extracted juice in a small bowl. Add to warm or cool water, adjusting to taste.
8- Make a fragrant watery bouquet. Fresh cuttings of herbs add a festive, pleasing touch to iced drinking water without the need for sweeteners.
Try it now: Chop up a handful of pungent peppermint leaves, and toss them into a glass decanter of water for a stimulating, hydrating drink. Other refreshing options are lavender-mint, lemongrass, and parsley.
9- Vinegar water. Many health experts extol the benefits of drinking diluted vinegar. Some believe that drinking apple cider vinegar is helpful for promoting weight loss and supplying vitamin C, vitamin A, and many B vitamins.
Try it now: Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or raspberry vinegar to a tall glass of fresh drinking water.
10- Red, red, wine. While drinking glassfuls of wine, or any other alcohol, for that matter, is not a great way to stay hydrated, there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of wine to a glass of sparkling water for flavor.
Try it now: One part of sweet dessert wine mixed with two parts sparkling mineral water makes a delightfully light, low-calorie, low-alcohol wine spritzer.
11- Have a cuppa. A cup of broth, that is. Sipping soup is another great way to increase your water intake in a way that’s flavorful and nutritious. Thick, creamy chowders don’t count as a hydrating soup, though many are healthful. To avoid dehydration while suffering from a cold or flu, drink plenty of soupy broths.
Try it now: Add a low-sodium bouillon cube to a mug of boiled water, for a quick cup-a-soup. Better yet, stir up a fresh pot of chicken or vegetable soup with basil, oregano, and dill.
12- Take this one to-go. Have you ever gone to a party where the only drinks offered were sodas, beer, and tap water? Times like these, it helps to have a packet of sugarless drink mix on hand. While it’s not as healthy as the above-listed options, considering the artificial sweeteners and the food colorings, it’s still a vast improvement over syrupy colas with caffeine.
Try it now: Check your supermarket aisle for a selection of powdered drink mixes that contain aspartame, saccharine, or sucralose. Many come in single-serving envelopes for convenience while traveling.