Sustenance

Infused water: The healthy swap for soda

Sustenance

Infused water: The healthy swap for soda

You know the health benefits of staying hydrated, but guzzling plain water all day can be boring. Nix the temptation to reach for a soft drink with a glass of infused water. All you need to do is add your favorite fruit, veggies, herbs or spices to your water glass to add flavor without added sugar, sodium or preservatives. 

"I love infused water because it's easy to shake up the taste," says Nancy Waldeck, a chef at Cancer Wellness. "We’re all trying to cut down on soft drinks and we often drink too much caffeine. Infused water provides flavor, hydration, and a little nutrition from the fruit or veggies, and we can customize the taste."

Use these simple tips to make your own infused H20:

  • Add herbs. Crush or tear herbs (such as ginger root, mint or basil) to release their flavor, gather them in a cheesecloth or tea infuser and drop into your water.

  • Drink infused water within a few hours. "Infused water should be enjoyed within a couple of hours of preparation. If it hangs out in your bottle all day, the water loses its zip and bright flavors," says Waldeck. "If you want to make it ahead of time, just cut up your fruit and leave it in bags in the fridge."

  • Keep it simple. While you can purchase a special pitcher or water bottle designed for infusing water, it works just as well to slip fruit into your everyday water bottle, glass or pitcher.

  • Pack a punch. Use the ripest, juiciest, in-season fruit you can find. You'll only need a few pieces to get a bold flavor.

  • Sip seasonally. Let the season dictate which fruits and veggies you use. "Try strawberries in the spring, cucumbers, peaches or tomatoes in the summer, apples in the fall, and frozen fruit in the winter," she suggests.

  • Slice strategically. The softer the fruit or vegetable, the bigger slices or chunks you can use. Firmer fruits, like pears or apples, should be sliced thinly so they can release flavor easily.

  • Sneak fresh produce into your diet. "Infused water is an easy and sneaky way to get another serving of fruit or vegetables each day if you eat them after you drink the water," she adds.

  • Stay cool. Start with cold or room temperature water for the best results. Hot water can cause your ingredients to disintegrate.

  • Wash up. Rinse your produce well before adding it to your glass.

Infused water recipes

Try one of these sweet or savory combinations:

  • Apple + cinnamon stick

  • Blueberry + kiwi

  • Cucumber + strawberry + basil

  • Grapefruit + rosemary

  • Jalapeno + strawberry + mint

  • Lemon + raspberry + mint

  • Lemon + thyme

  • Orange + lime + lemon

  • Peach + green grapes

  • Pineapple + raspberry

  • Tomato + basil

  • Tomato + celery   

  • Watermelon + cantaloupe + mint

For more recipes and nutrition tips, visit our Sustenance page.

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