Flavored waters are uplifting, transformative, exhilarating - I really don't think I'm overselling them here. Replacing sugary drinks and plain water with infused water encourages more water consumption, which encourages a healthier and happier you. Reducing sugar means reducing those highs and lows that sugar can bring on throughout the day. I find flavored waters can turn an ordinary day into a bright and cheery one, giving me more pep in my step no matter the weather outside. Another plus is that infusing water is inexpensive, requiring a very small amount of produce to flavor large amounts of water. We recently cut back on buying flavored seltzer water because we've been so enjoying making our own infused waters at a fraction of seltzer's cost.
Throughout my childhood, I avoided water. There were other options readily available to me, mostly "pop." I could get through my whole day without drinking a sip of plain old water. So boring, so devoid of its own flavor that I could sometimes taste the dishwasher. I wasn't interested.
Today, I do sometimes start my day with a glass of plain water. I understand its benefits now: pure hydration without calories or chemicals. But I also realize now that I still long for flavor when I drink water. Not sweetness, but flavor. I will drink gallons of flavored water, which has the same benefits of plain, and then some. Not the store-bought kind that tastes like chemicals because it is chemicals, but that plain old water with an infusion of fruit, herbs, and/or veggies. A small piece of lemon instantly transforms "just water" into something beautiful, and I feel like I've been transported to a spa with that glass before me, even in chaotic moments.
Flavoring water is so easy and fun to do. Kids can get involved by creating special concoctions all their own with whichever produce you have on hand. I like to have smaller glass bottles around so my kids can have their own in the fridge. This one is available through Amazon and holds about a pint.
For family-sized flavored water, I found this pitcher at Costco, and it holds about a quart.
Tips for Infusing Waters
When it comes to infusing water with flavor, I've learned a few tricks:
1. Wash the produce well before flavoring water with it. To avoid chemicals, use organic produce. Use filtered water to remove impurities.
2. A little tends to go a long way. Often, one thin slice of fruit will do. You can always add more if you want more flavor, but too much can be bitter and need to be diluted.
3. Squeezing lemon or lime into water without a sweetener creates bitter water. It's the colorful rind or zest that contains that great citrus flavor, so be sure to include it.
4. Refrigerate your flavored waters. Berries tend to turn more quickly in water than citrus. Use berry water within 24 hours. Other waters tend to last a couple days in the fridge. Until then, keep refilling the pitcher with water using the same produce.
5. Plastic water bottles may not hold up well to waters infused with acidic fruits, like lemons or limes. In these cases, I use a glass bottle with silicone "bumper" instead.
6. Check out the herb section of your grocery stores to find treats you may not have thought of to make beautiful waters, like edible flowers and mint. Rub herbs like mint and lavender between your fingers before adding it to the water to bring out its flavor.
Six Easy Flavored Waters
These are our current favorites. Portions are based on one quart of water.
Lavender & Lemon
Start with one sprig of lavender and one thin lemon slice.
Strawberry & Kiwi
Start with one large or two small berries and two this slices of kiwi.
Cucumber & Lemon
Start with thin cucumber slices and one thin lemon slice.
Lemon, Lime & Orange
Start with one thin slice of each.
Mint & Lime
Start with one sprig of mint and one thin slice of lime.
Rosewater & Lime
Start with 1/16 teaspoon culinary rosewater and one thin slice of lime. Add edible flowers to create a truly beautiful water. Roses at most shops are not meant for consumption because of the chemicals used on them, so stick with edible flowers/organically grown edible rose petals.
I hope you thoroughly enjoy making your own inexpensive, delicious flavored waters! What's your favorite?