We have all heard that one should be drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. For some, this may be a little difficult, especially if you do not care for the taste of water. It can be a struggle drinking just three glasses! I am always a little envious and amazed by those who have no problem at all drinking water. Not to mention the people who absolutely love the taste of water. I would pay for those tastebuds! Others, like me, drink water because we are told we are “suppose to” for our health, but are honestly, we are more than a little bored with its flavorless taste. Can you learn to enjoy water? Is there a way to enjoy water that has yet to be figured out?
In that quest, I have discovered a few some simple tips and suggestions in learning to enjoy water. If you love fruit or a little flavor zip , then my first simple tip should be relatively easy for you. Adding certain ingredients to your water, or in place of, can be extremely beneficial to your overall health. Don’t be held prisoner by traditional thinking that stops with water! Get outside the water cooler by making your beverage a perfect companion to your super foods, by making your water a super drink!
Tasty Tip One
The simplest of all is to make your own water “spritzer”! No recipes, no measuring, no mixing! Meaning you can make up your own concoction by the glass on the go with little to no preparation! You can even make a family size pitcher for the whole family to enjoy.
Begin by slicing up as many lemons as you want and add them to a pitcher. Add a tray of ice cubes, fill the pitcher with water, and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Pour into colored glasses for extra fun and add a piece of fruit to the rim! If you are a fan of strawberry lemonade, try adding some fresh strawberries in with the lemons! Don’t stop there! Experiment by adding blueberries, or cranberries, or limes, or even slices of oranges. Get creative and create your own flavor explosion by adding your favorite fruits.
Tasty Tip Two
Iced tea is a lovely, refreshing substitute for water; but, I will encourage you to make your own as you can brew a tea that not only taste great, but has added health benefits. Try to use teas that are organic or natural, or consider purchasing loose tea. Stick with green, black, white, or red teas for your primary choices. Steer clear of weight loss teas! Teas, in general, aid in weight loss due to their complex compounds. Just as in Tasty Tip One, don’t be afraid to add lemons or other fruits to enhance the flavor. Here are two of my favorite recipes from the Eating Well website!
ICED TEA RECIPES
Iced Mint Green Tea
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 3 green tea bags
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 cups boiling water
- 4 stalks lemongrass, optional for garnish
- Combine mint leaves, tea bags, honey and boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes; remove tea bags. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Divide among 4 large ice-filled glasses.
- Garnish with a stalk of lemongrass.
- OPTION: Add a 1/2 cup sake to each glass for a light cocktail or evening refresher
Orange Earl Grey Iced Tea
- 1/4 cup loose Earl Grey tea, or 12 Earl Grey tea bags
- Peel of 1 orange, plus orange wedges for garnish
- 4 cups boiling water
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup honey or sugar substitute
- 4 cups cold water
- Steep loose tea (or tea bags) and orange peel in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Strain the tea (or remove tea bags and orange peel) and pour into a large pitcher.
- Stir in orange juice and honey or sugar until dissolved. Add cold water.
- Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
- Serve over ice with orange wedges, if desired.
Tasty Tip Three
If you are still looking for an additional option for water, start experimenting with smoothies. All you need is a blender, ice, and your favorite fruit! If you are looking for drinks for weight loss, there are certain things you will want to consider. First, think about what kind of liquid you want to add. Since you will already be adding fruit, I would highly recommend that you do not add juice. Opt instead for low fat milk or water. If you are going to be adding milk, make sure you use only a cup. Try almond milk or soy milk for added health benefits to aid in weight loss! There is also rice milk and coconut water that can be added as the liquid base for your smoothie.
Even though fruit is low in calories, you still want to watch calories by not adding too much. Try only adding two cups and add more vegetables. Two of my favorite vegetables are spinach and kale. Adding more vegetables to your weight loss smoothie gives you a great source of fiber. If you are working out, you definitely need to add some kind of protein to your smoothie. You can find protein in things such as sunflower seeds, yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese or even a protein powder.
The next step is to add some kind of healthy fat into your smoothie. You can find healthy fats in items such as nuts, avocado, coconut oil, flax seeds and chia seeds. Even though fats are high in calories, you can still eat them in moderation. Healthy fats in small amounts can actually aid in weight loss. Healthy fats can help the body absorb certain vitamins, provides taste to food and make you feel less hungry. For maximum results, make sure to use only 1 tablespoon of fat per serving.
Now that you have added all the proper ingredients, you may want to add some flavor. However, make sure to stay clear of adding too many calories. If you absolutely need some flavor, you can add mint, basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey or vanilla extract. Along with adding flavor, try adding some additional ingredients to boost weight loss. Weight loss booster include green tea, cinnamon, dark chocolate or ginger.
Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
- ½ of a banana
- ½ cup of Chocolate PB2
- ½ cup of almond or soy milk
- 6 ice cubes
- Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth
- 3 cups of seedless watermelon chopped
- 1/2 cup of lemon sherbert or low fat greek vanilla/lemon yogurt
- 6 ice cubes
- Place the watermelon in blender, blend till smooth
- Add the ice and sherbert, blend until smooth
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 1 banana
- ½ cup of low fat yogurt/milk
- 5 ice cubes
- ½ of a sliced orange
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- Blend until smooth
Vanilla Yogurt and Blueberry Smoothie
- 1 cup of almond or skim milk
- 6 oz. of low fat greek vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup of fresh blueberries
- 1 tbs. flaxseed oil
- 1 cup frozen blueberries/ice
- Blend ingredients until almost smooth, then add flaxseed oil, finish blending until smooth
Benefits of Healthy Drinks
Studies on the proper consumption of water have varied over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. As stated earlier, adding certain ingredients to your drinks can be extremely beneficial to your overall health. I am not bashing the overall goodness of water, but encouraging a way to add an extra boost to your beverage! Simply adding lemon slices or lemon juice to your water can help aid in digesting your food better. Lemons also help with cleansing the liver. Proper liver function is vital to general health. The acidity and lactic acid in lemons can help with weight loss and to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Bananas and berries can also have an immense health benefits. Bananas can provide the body with adequate amounts of potassium and fiber. Potassium can help with bone health while fiber can help prevent heart disease. Blueberries help to improve memory and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Strawberries are another fruit that can be a tremendous impact on your health. Strawberries aid in vitamin C and boosting your immunity. Strawberries also help to promote eye health, particularly the retina and cornea.
Green Tea has been shown in recent studies to positively affected the tissues of the eyes. The extracts found in White Tea inhibit wrinkle production by strengthening elastin and collagen. Black Tea not only helps with stress, it has also shown to lower systolic blood pressure.
Vegetables also contribute to achieving good health. Spinach for example, has an excellent source of vitamin K, A, C, iron and fiber just to name a few. Kale also equips your body with most of the same ingredients as spinach. Furthermore, kale helps to lower cholesterol levels, fight against, asthma and arthritis.
These are just a few of my favorite ingredients that can be used in drinking your way to overall better health. There are many a multitude of other ingredients that will help you in achieving your personal quest for healthy living. So get exploring, blend and enjoy.