As the days start to get warmer my kids usually ask for more drinks. We like to carry water bottles with us on outings, but water gets boring and the choices of cold sugared drinks in the convenience stores are tantalizing.
Why soda and sugary drinks are not healthy in the heat
Sodas, juices, sports drinks, and the like are really not healthy for you to drink. They may contain water, but they are also filled with sugars that have adverse affects on your blood sugar levels.
The caffeine in soda can make your heart rate go up, and that wastes your bodies energy when you need it to keep cool. Caffeine may also be a diuretic, meaning it actually takes water out of your body. This has recently been debated, but I know from experience that drinking too much coffee can cause serious urinary tract problems.
The bottom line is that these types of drinks provide very little nutrition and way too much sugar and additives.
Water is best for hydration and health
Nothing beats the heat like fresh pure water. In order to get my kids to drink more water, I have added in small amounts of juice and other drinks to give it a little flavor.
I still didn't enjoy buying the plastic drink bottles just to flavor our water, so I decided to try making some flavored water using fresh ingredients.
Use your imagination to create your own combinations of fruits, herbs, and even vegetables. I wouldn't use bananas as they can get bitter, but here are some ideas to try:
- citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes)
- mint, lavender, rosemary, chamomile
- green tea
- apples, grapes, peaches
I've seen a lot of these types of drinks on Pinterest and on various blogs, so I don't know where the idea originated. These are just two of the combinations that I tried that were a hit with the kids.
Cherry Cucumber Limeade
This is our favorite out of everything we have tried. Cool cucumber mixed with the freshness of limes and just a hint of sweet dark cherries.
- 3-4 limes
- 1/4 cup frozen dark cherries
- 1 cucumber
- 2 quarts filtered water
I squeezed the juice out of 3 of the limes and then cut them up into my pitcher for more flavor. You can just cut the limes into wedges or slices and add them to the water, or you can squeeze them for a little more “ade” in this drink.
Slice up the lime and cucumber and put them in a 2-quart pitcher along with your dark cherries. Add the filtered water. If you wish, you can take a potato masher and press down on the fruit to get more of the juices out.
Set the pitcher in your fridge overnight. The next day, you can use a mesh strainer to strain out the fruit (that is when I transferred the drink over to a plastic pitcher with a pour lid).
My kids like to add a little sweetness with honey or raw sugar. 1-2 tablespoons will sweeten the whole pitcher just about right. It still doesn't even compare to the 4-8 teaspoons of sugar in just one juice box.
This one is amazing and perfect for the more mature palate.
Simply take 1 cup of frozen or fresh peaches, 1 tea bag of peppermint herbal tea, and place them in 2 quarts of filtered water.
I didn't leave the tea bag in overnight but instead took it out after about an hour. That way the water didn't really turn into tea but just had a hint of the mint flavor.
I drink this one straight without any extra sweetening. The peppermint gives it a punch and the peach adds a nice mellow sweetness.
I love taking these flavored waters along on park days or long walks. They really do satisfy your thirst and add a little flavor so we are not craving sweet drinks.
Eventually, I am hoping they can completely replace the desire to have juice and soda in our house.