When water just won’t cut it!
By June Martin, RD, CDE
One of the common complaints I hear as a dietitian is “I’m sick of water”. Water is definitely the healthiest beverage option for most people. It’s calorie free, caffeine free, hydrating and contains minimal amounts of sodium, potassium and phosphorus. But sometimes water just isn’t what you feel like drinking.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to plain water, we’ve got some options below. If you have diabetes, try to choose unsweetened beverages or use carbohydrate-free sweeteners like Stevia® or Splenda® . The best thing about our beverage options is that YOU control what goes into them.
Try adding fruit, veggies or herbs to your water to add flavour. This is a low-calorie, low-carb option. Fill a jug or mason jar with water in the morning and add your favourite combination of flavours. Here are some ingredients for infused water:
- Orange and lemon slices
- Cucumber slices
- Strawberry slices and sprigs of mint
- Lime and ginger root
- Watermelon and basil leaves
- Thinly sliced pineapple and blueberries
- Lemon slices and fresh thyme sprigs
- Any combination of frozen berries that you enjoy
Homemade Iced tea
There are so many flavoured teas available in stores. But you also have endless options for homemade iced teas. Try the recipe below with any of your favourite teas. If you are looking for a caffeine-free option try peppermint or chamomile iced tea. Black tea should be made with boiling water but green tea and herbal teas work better when the water has cooled just slightly.
Recipe for homemade iced tea
1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and pour over 2 tea bags in a heat-proof pitcher.
2. Let steep for 4 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add sugar or sweetener to taste.
3. Add six cups of ice cubes and refrigerate. You can add sliced lemons, limes or fruit or other ingredients to jazz up your iced tea.
Lemonade is traditionally a very sweet beverage, but you can reduce the sugar or use alternate sweeteners when making your own. Lemonade is also wonderful with other fruit flavours, so go ahead and add raspberries, strawberries or blueberries to it. You can go the traditional route and squeeze your own lemons or buy the lemon juice in a bottle. Both will result in a refreshing drink.
Recipe for homemade lemonade
1. Mix 1/2 cup or less sugar (or sweetener) with 1/2 cup lemon juice and 3 1/4 cups coldwater.
2. Stir or shake to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate and enjoy!
A healthy alternative to soft drinks is sparkling water. You can add fruit or juice to sparkling water to help satisfy sweet cravings. Sparkling water is generally available in restaurants and is a great option when eating out. Ask for lemon or lime wedges for extra flavor. Keep in mind that club soda is often high in sodium or potassium ,so check your labels when you are shopping. Plain sparkling water is usually your best bet.