Stay Hydrated by Doctoring Up Your Water

Flavored water quenches thirst without all the sugar and calories

Looking for a beverage to satisfy your thirst without sacrificing your diet? Why not give flavored water a try?

When it comes to drinking, water is by far the healthier choice. It’s wiser to grab a glass of water instead of a can of sugary soda or a bottle of fruit punch.

“Staying hydrated with water helps to energize and improve performance of your muscles, keeps your skin looking healthy and helps maintain regular bowel function,” shares Nicole Anderson, a registered dietitian with Bon Secours In Motion-Outpatient Nutrition Services.  

While water is sugar-free and calorie-free, a can of regular soda has roughly 30 to 35 grams of sugar.

“Regular soda and fruit drinks are less healthy drinking options due to the high amount of added sugar and empty calories they provide,” says Anderson. “Empty-calorie beverages are nutritionally poor choices, as they contain a significant amount of calories but lack adequate nutrients.”

Not a fan of plain water? Try making your own flavored water at home.  

“The combination options are almost limitless when it comes to adding fruits, herbs and spices to water to provide more flavor,” says Anderson.  

“Two of my favorite combinations are cucumber slices, strawberries and mint leaves as well as lemons, limes and oranges.” 

Gale Pearson, a registered dietitian with Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group, suggests using an infusion cup that allows you to choose flavors.

“My favorite is fresh lemon and mint,” Pearson says. “I grow different kinds of mint to change the taste. I also add fresh berries to change the flavor. You can also add cucumber or lime. It is very refreshing, and I have increased my water consumption since using infused water. You can also purchase infusion water pitchers.”

Another option is to freeze an ice cube tray filled with juice or berries and herbs with a bit of water and then flavor your glass of water with the ice.  

Megan Cordova, a registered dietician nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with Sentara Healthcare, suggests thoroughly washing citrus fruit rinds before cutting them up and putting them in your water, as well as tearing herb leaves first before placing them in water to release their flavor.

Some ingredients, such as citrus fruit, cucumbers, melon and mint, will flavor water immediately, while other fruits and herbs like apples, ginger and rosemary will need to soak in water overnight.

About the author

Brandy Centolanza

Brandy Centolanza is a freelance writer who has contributed regularly to The Health Journal since 2005. She covers health, travel, parenting, education and community issues for several publications in Hampton Roads and Richmond. Brandy lives in James City County with her husband, two children and two cats.