Let’s face it, some people just don’t love the taste of plain water (myself included). At AICR’s Annual Research Conference this year, the tables were adorned with water pitchers filled with beautiful fruits and vibrant herbs – “Infused Waters.” I didn’t have to force myself to drink water like I usually do – these waters were so appealing that I went back for more.
The water with fresh strawberries and mint leaves was refreshing and ever so slightly sweet. Here’s how to make it:
1. Slice 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
2. Select several sprigs of fresh mint and rinse if needed
Add to 1-2 quarts of fresh, cold water and refrigerate for several hours to let flavors mingle. The longer you let it soak (even up to a day), the more prominent the flavors will become.
The pitcher of lemon and basil water was just as unique and delicious:
1. Slice 1 whole lemon
2. Select 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Add to 1-2 quarts of fresh, cold water and refrigerate as in the previous recipe. This water reminded me of a fragrant, summer herb garden.
Flavoring your water with fruits and herbs is a great way to drink more water – you can still get great taste, without the added calories typical of many drinks. Sodas, sports drinks and even fruit juice, can be high in calories and sugar. Too many of these can lead to overweight and obesity (adding 2 cans of coke a day could mean 3 pounds weight gain a month) which increases risk for many common cancers.
Use fruits in season to save money. Buying flavored beverages can get expensive, but not if you are making them yourself with seasonal ingredients! Lemons are inexpensive year-round, so they are always a good fruit to keep on hand. Or, if you want something more warming for winter, try this Cinnamint Green Tea recipe.
What are your naturally flavored water ideas?
Sliced cucumber with a fresh sprig of rosemary in an ice cold pitcher of water is coming to mind…
Sonja Goedkoop is a master’s student/dietetic intern with an interest in lifestyle modification for obesity and chronic disease prevention.
wow, i love oranges and mangos and so i thought hmmmmmm. let me try this, and it did it was delious and it wasnt fake-tasting like the bottled flavored water. thank you for the great tip- as i am 14 and trying to lose weight, this really helped me get off of my soda habit. thank you- sophie
what about diet coke/colas? Are they good substitutes?Does the carbonation have any effect as well?
Thats great and all, but one problem I have is its not exactly the flavor or caffeine, I think its the carbonation I am addicted to, and carbonated water doesn’t cut it. Are diet drinks such as Dr Pepper 10 any better?
You could also use carbonated water and mix with juice. The calories are lower because you are not drinking a whole serving of juice. There are recipes online for this as well. Be careful of calories with this don’t add too much just a little for flavor.
Sonja, I’m interested to hear more about stevia as a sweetener. I add lemon juice and stevia to water for a refreshing alternative to hydration when higher temperatures increase water needs. And in cold temps, to boiling water I add some crystalized ginger along with the fresh lemon juice and stevia to make a wonderful lemon-ginger tea. Your insights on stevia?
Great question. Stevia is a excellent zero calorie alternative to sugar, and since it comes from a plant it is a good way to naturally sweeten drinks without artificial ingredients or sugar. You can even buy a stevia plant and add the actual leaves to your beverage (e.g. tea). I love the lemon ginger idea! The only thing to be careful with regarding stevia is that some people find it a bit bitter tasting, but as long as you enjoy it, it’s a great option!