We need to drink sufficient water to keep ourselves hydrated, but water on its own can be tasteless and bland. So what to drink? There is herbal tea of course, but I was always more of a tea “sipper” – it’s not something I drink in large quantities.
I was also never a big soda fan, but I love juice. Juice, sadly, has a lot of sugar in it. In an effort to cut down on the calories in sweetened drinks, I started drinking stevia-sweetened Kool-Aid.
Alas, using low-calorie sugar substitutes can paradoxically raise blood sugar levels, and after a few bouts of hypoglycemia, I started to wonder if the stevia Kool-Aid was the culprit. (Mind you, I was drinking it all the time!)
I started looking into the latest trend of “liquid water enhancers” and it is surprisingly difficult to find natural ones. Many are filled with chemicals and even “propellant.” Health food stores like Sprouts don’t seem to carry natural ones yet (last I checked, locally). The best I have found at my local HEB grocery store is Stur, which is all “natural” and sweetened with stevia.
The idea behind water flavor enhancers is that they give a lighter taste than juice but make drinking water more palatable. Most liquid water flavor enhancers come in small squeeze bottles that are used to flavor individual servings of water. They can run from $2.50 (usually on sale) to $4 or more for 24-32 “servings” in the bottle.
I like the Stur water flavor enhancers and have tried a few other brands that don’t have added chemicals. They are convenient and generally taste pretty good. However, the cost for these little bottles is relatively high for the small amount of (admittedly concentrated) liquid.
If you want to make “real” flavored water, the truly healthy kind, the preferred method is to take actual fruit and herbs and soak a mixture in water. The Internet is replete with many “recipes” for fruit-enhanced water. The problem is, making this water takes time and involves clean-up. (I did my first test of fruit-enhanced water with some frozen fruit, and it worked fine, but I was left with a pulpy mess to deal with once I was done drinking it.)
The water that you create with fruit is good for a day or two, which might work OK for a family but if you are single and not drinking all of it immediately, it means you may have to toss the water out before it’s done.
Clearly the many fruit-enhanced water enthusiasts on the Internet have more time and energy to deal with all this than I do! I wanted something fast and easy that did not involve clean-up. I came up with a quick and easy way to make “flavored water” without a lot of mess.
My compromise solution is to buy fruit juice at the grocery store and flavor water with the fruit juice. Depending on how much flavor you want, and the juice you are using, 1-2 cups of juice per 2 quarts of water should do it. I find 1.5 cups of juice to work pretty well.
The juice should ideally be naturally sweetened, and 100% fruit juice is best. I’ve tried juice that was sweetened with just plain old sugar and it did not add as much flavor to the water as 100% juice did.
With this method, you may be drinking some sugar in your “flavored water,” it will be watered down tremendously.
Now, I haven’t done a cost calculation on this method vs. the commercial liquid water enhancers. It will also depend on how expensive the bottled juice is. I look for 100% juice that is on sale, which lowers the cost.
Once in a while, I will still have some straight up juice or Kool-Aid…or actual plan water (!). But having an easy way to drink “flavor-enhanced” water is sooo nice.