Health, Recipes

What to Drink When You Don’t Want Water

It is no hidden secret that we all need to drink water.  Every day. About 8-12 glasses.  Without fail.  

When I was in college, I was a professional water drinker- really!  It was my lifestyle.  It was normal.  But as we all know, life changes and some habits become more challenging.  Now, as a busy mommy, I must make a very concerted effort each day to drink water.  Sip, sip!    

Water is a fundamental source of life.  Without it, we die of dehydration.  Literally, your cells shrivel to raisins.  About 60% of your body is water and every time you sweat, urinate, or produce ANY kind of fluid, it releases water.  You NEED it!

Many people will say that the more water they drink, the more they want it.  Individuals who create a commitment to drink water, develop a habit of doing it regularly, and eventually learn to love it and even, dare I say, crave it.  

But sometimes water just tastes boring.  It may not sound exciting, refreshing or interesting, especially when compared to other beverages.  But most of those enticing, exotic, alluring beverages are also boast heaps of sugar, dozens of calories, and maybe even some artificial “scary” ingredients!  You can find out some eye-opening facts here.

If you are looking for a little flavor or a bit of zing to liven up your beverages without tacking on a bunch of sugar and calories, I have some great, creative ideas to keep you hydrated throughout the day!  

Check these out and be sure to share your favorite hydration solution!

 

Herbal Tea

These can be brewed cold or hot. Herbal tea is decaffeinated so it won’t dehydrate as you drink.  There are dozens of flavors just waiting to be enjoyed.  If you don’t think you enjoy tea, look for an interesting flavor in the grocery store.  Many brands have a sampler box with several flavors so you aren’t stuck with just 1 kind.

Even better is that there is some research on specific types of tea that contribute health benefits beyond flavor.  Hibiscus tea lowered systolic blood pressure by 7.2 points in one study.  Peppermint tea may aid in digestion (although it should be avoided in those with reflux).

lemon ginger tea with fresh blueberries and thyme

A few tantalizing flavors…

  • Black cherry berry
  • Cinnamon apple spice
  • Coconut Zinger
  • Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride
  • True Blueberry
  • Spearmint
  • Sangria Zinger
  • Chamomile with Lavender

Not-So-Boring Beverages...

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Sparkling Water

Bubbles… who doesn’t love a little bubbles!  My husband will tell you that sparkling water is how he kicked is daily soda habit.  He still enjoys a soda sometimes, but much less often.  And since it is in our home, now my 2-year-old requests it by name.  

Sparkling water can be found in a variety of flavors:

  • Cranberry tangerine
  • Black cherry
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Raspberry lime
  • Grapefruit

…Flavors galore!  Find one you want to try!

You can find them in 12oz cans or a various sized bottles.  For absolutely no calories, you can enjoy the fizz and flavor!  We find these are best when very cold or over ice.  Some brands do add artificial sweeteners so make sure to check the labels before you buy!

A few of my favorite brands…

For even more creative, refreshing beverages, add mashed berries, torn mint leaves or a squeeze of your favorite citrus fruit!

 

Vegetable Juice

Traditional vegetable juice brands on the market are usually concentrated vegetable juice with water, salt and preservative like citric acid to make them shelf stable.  If you choose pure 100% vegetable juice, it will not be tainted with added sugars and ingredients but the sodium per 8 ounces is usually more than 600mg!!  That is more than 1/4 of your daily needs!  Instead, choose the low sodium version.  Watch out for “vegetable juice blends”, “fusion” blends and “energy” blends which may include fruit juice concentrates, higher calories and even forms of caffeine.  ALWAYS read the ingredient list before putting into your shopping cart!

Usually, 100% bottled vegetable juice beverages are about 50 calories per 8 ounces (compared to 8 an ounce glass of 100% fruit juice, that is a savings of 70 calories and 15 grams of sugar!).  

If you are one of the millions of people that have a high powered blender and wonder what to do with it, making veggie juice is perfect!  You don’t need a juicer to make “juice” and in fact, you want to blend the entire vegetable (or fruit) up to maintain the fiber in the “juice”.  You can get creative using just the vegetables that you have in your fridge BUT, realize that some vegetables have higher water content than others so the yield and texture will differ based on what you choose.  These are a few great ideas for how to “blend” up veggies into tasty drinks:

This recipe is practically a salad in a glass.

Bloody Mary anyone? Recipe here.

NOTE: Choose juice recipes that are vegetables only OR that include only 1 serving of fruit (about 1 cup or tennis ball size fruit), otherwise, the calories, sugars, and carbs will increase.

Infused OR Flavored Water

Squeeze or mash the fruit along with any herbs you desire in a glass.  Then pour water over the fruit.  Citrus can be zested, but avoid getting any white pith as this is bitter.

A few flavorful ideas…

  • Strawberries + mint
  • Berries + basil
  • Lemon + Thyme
  • Blueberry + Orange
  • Cucumber + Lemon + Lime

lime flavored sparkling water with watermelon cubes and mint

TIPS & TRICKS

  • This is also a great way to use up leftover herbs before they go bad!
  • For stronger flavor, puree the fruit in blender or food processor.  Pour into ice cube tray and freeze.  Add ice cubes to water and as they melt, they will flavor the water.
  • You can infuse sparkling water and herbal tea as well to create hundreds of combinations!

Link to a few water infuser water bottles and pitchers.

Looking for a water infuser?  This 32ounce infuser water bottle holds a lot of water so you don’t have to keep refilling (my personal pet peeve).  It’s dishwasher safe too!  You can grab a water infuser pitcher like this one to keep in your fridge for the entire family to enjoy.  But, in reality, you don’t need a special device to ‘infuse’ flavor- you just need a pitcher, some water, and your preferred flavor enhancers!

 

Watermelon Water

Those huge watermelons still around at the end of summer feed an army, but if you don’t have an army, you end up with half a watermelon in the fridge while you scour the internet for another way to use it up (like me!).  Watermelon water is pureed watermelon mixed with water using a 1:1 ratio.  It is super simple and perfectly delicious!  Your kids (and you) won’t ask for juice at mealtime when you offer this!

Simple Watermelon Water

Puree cubes of seedless watermelon in a food processor or high powered blender.  Mix 6oz watermelon puree with 6oz water (or sparkling water).  Add a bit of torn mint if you want!  Perfectly refreshing!

Ideally, we would all aim to make at least half of our daily fluids 100% pure water- nothing else.  But there is nothing wrong with adding a little zing or flavor to your water to help you take a few more sips.

Cheers!

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Not-So-Boring Beverages

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TRUTH: And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.  –Isaiah 58:11 (TLB)

 

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