Water is great for weight control and feeling energized – but what can we drink when we’re bored with plain water? Try these additions and alternatives that won’t add pounds or zap your energy:
1) Fruit Infusions. You can also freeze summer fruit that’s about to be overripe – pineapple, peaches, kiwi, watermelon. And of course, you can squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon or other citrus fruits in ice cube tray compartments and freeze, or infuse a whole pitcher or jug with sliced fruits and berries. I love the mixture of blueberry and lemon, and the flavors of watermelon, cucumber and mint. The longer the water steeps, the more intense the flavor. Why not try muddling fresh fruit with sparkling water to make a refreshing non-alcoholic spritzer like this one.
2) Berry Cubes. Fill an ice cube tray with the juice and pulp from organic berries. Blend a cup or two or blackberries, blueberries or raspberries in a blender or food processor until you have a course mixture of the fruit pulp and juice. Then pour/scoop the fruit into the ice tray’s individual compartments and freeze. When you’re ready for a drink of water, pop out a cube or two and plop them into your glass.
3) Off the Shelf. You can also buy infused waters off the shelf; make sure you select ones that contain no added sodium, sugars or preservatives. A few to try are: Dr. Ayala’s Herbal Water (sparkling or regular); Hint (sparkling or regular) and Perrier Grapefruit (sparkling).
4) Mother Nature’s “Sports Drink” (without the artificial sweeteners and colors). Coconut Water is naturally high in electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, as well as antioxidants. If you can get fresh coconut water right out of the coconut (that’s the best!) you can buy it bottled. Read the label to be sure it’s 100% coconut water. For endurance athletes and travelers, I recommend freeze-dried coconut powder. You can take it with you in a zip bag and add it to your water for replenishment!
5) Go Green. Vegetable juices, especially green juices made with parsley, spinach, kale, celery, fennel, ginger, and mint, are a great way to get your fluids and a lot of nutrition. Home juicing or cold-pressed at your local juice bar is best. There are also plenty of off-the-shelf versions, but these are usually loaded with sugar to be wary.
6) Eat Your Hydration. Summer is a great time to choose fruits and veggies that will help keep you hydrated and provide nutritional boosts. Some favorites include:
• Welcome Watermelon. It’s in the name, and it’s in season all summer! This hydrating fruit is 92% water and in just one serving you get about five ounces of water. Watermelon also has a very high level of citrulline, an amino acid that our body uses to make arginine, another amino acid that’s related to vascular health. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and the antioxidant lycopene.
• Cantaloupe and honeydew melon are naturally sweet sources of vitamin A and 90% water by weight.
• Grapefruit is tart, tangy, and a refreshing 91% water. It also contains powerful phytonutrients called limonoids, which form enzymes that spark a reaction in the liver that helps to make toxic compounds more water soluble for elimination from the body.
• Strawberries have loads of fiber, are an antioxidant powerhouse, and are packed with vitamin C. Every berry is 92% water. They are a heavily sprayed crop though, so choose organic only (same goes for all berries).
• Cucumbers contain mostly water, which makes them very cooling. They are a great source of vitamin B and K, rich in potassium and magnesium and contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that fight disease.
• Celery contains potassium, calcium and magnesium, with 95% water content.
Whatever water source you choose, you’ll be doing your body a huge favor by staying hydrated!