Water is an essential part of any healthy diet and a great source of hydration without calories, sugar, fat, or sodium. It’s just a shame that water doesn’t have much of a flavor. Sure, it can curb your appetite and prevent dehydration, but enjoying your food and drinks is also important. Adding a lot of sugar or flavorings isn’t the solution either. So, is it possible to make water taste better without making it unhealthy?
Adding Fruit or Vegetables
A classic way to add flavor to water is with a bit of fruit. Most restaurants will give diners the option to have water with lemon, for example. While you may want to skip the lemon wedge in the restaurant, it can definitely add a nice zing of flavor at home. The same is true of other fruits, especially ones that are particularly juicy. This could include oranges, strawberries, berries, kiwis, or any other of your favorite fruits.
There are also vegetables that can add a bit of flavor to your water like cucumbers and zucchini. As an added benefit, you’ll also get some of the nutrients along with the flavor!
Using Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs can also make your water tastier. Mint or basil are especially nice as their flavors work well with water without being overpowering.
In this case, fresh herbs may work better instead of dried herbs for two reasons. First, much of the flavor will come from crushing or gently soaking the herbs to coax out the herbaceous oils. Dried herbs require soaking for some time to have a similar effect. Second, dried herbs can have a gritty texture and may create an unpleasant mouthfeel unless you use a teabag.
There are two general ways to make herb water. One is to add fresh herbs to the water and crush or let them soak. The second is to boil the water and add the herbs so they can steep like tea.
Tea is another excellent option for making your water better. Tea has been a popular drink for thousands of years, originating in China before making its way to Europe and beyond. Most of us have made tea before, but if you haven’t, it’s super simple (unless you want to get into the milk first or last minefield).
Simply place a teabag in a mug and pour hot water to allow the tea to steep until your desired strength. If you’d prefer cold tea, you can add a few ice cubes or place it in the fridge. Tea can offer you different flavors, different levels of caffeine, and even some health benefits, as we’ve covered before.
Sparkling or Fizzy Water
The biggest issue with water is that it’s a bit boring. Adding flavor may fix that sometimes, but usually it’s still a bit dull. That’s why the fizziness of soda can be a nice change. You can get this without the sugar and calories by switching to sparkling water. While sparkling water may not be adding a great deal of flavor, bubbly water may help you feel more satisfied.
Some sparkling waters and seltzers even have flavors, though some of these come with sugar and calories so be sure to read the label.
Finally, there are several flavor add-ins you can find at the grocery store. Some are even calorie- and sugar-free. Another benefit of these is the wide array of flavors they can offer you, from fruit punch to pina colada and beyond.
If you’re a big soda or juice drinker and looking for a way to cut back, these are an excellent option to help you scale back. It’s worth remembering, however, that not all flavor add-ins are sugar- or calorie-free. Some can even be quite high in sugar so make sure to read the label before you buy.
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Water can be refreshing, cooling, and essential, but it’s not exactly fun or delicious. For anyone trying to hydrate more, you might need to get clever to get more water into your diet. The best part is that many of these solutions can work together! Try some mint and cucumber water for a refreshing, delicious summer cooler or add a few flavor drops to some sparkling water. The options for experimentation are endless, so go nuts and don’t forget to hydrate!