Not fruit juice. Not vitality drinks. Not soda!
100% water is what our children’s energetic bodies are craving.
So, the real question is, what are we, the parents, to do when children reject plain ol’ water?
Have you thought about trying infused waters?
Flavored waters are everywhere these days, but most are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. A child drinking sugary drinks every day can consume up to 50 lbs of sugar annually. This overconsumption radically increases a child’s odds of becoming obese.
Child obesity has been an ongoing health crisis, even before the pandemic. Texas falls in 12th place for obesity in kids aged 10-17, translating into 17.3% of children in this age group who struggle with obesity.
The health effects of sugary drinks are widely fluctuating. However, artificially sweetened beverages are linked to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and many other health issues like liver disease, gout, and tooth decay.
There has been an increase in Type 2 diabetes in children and teenagers in the past decades. Back in the 1980s, Type 2 diabetes under the age of 18 was unheard of. Now, it’s increasing by about 3% each year!
As we head into the second half of the summer break, with sweltering conditions, children, teens, and others must have enough fluids through water and food. The foods we eat also contribute to our total fluid intake. Seasonal summer produce — watermelon, cucumbers, and papaya, for example — are more than 90% water. Whether you are eating them raw, adding them to a salad, enjoying a refreshing bowl of gazpacho, or using them to make a stimulating beverage, they will help replenish and hydrate.
What Are Infused Waters?
When we talk about beverages, a healthier choice is infused water. An infused water is simply water in which you add an infusion of your choice. It could be some fruit, a veggie or some herbs, or even spices. The idea is to let the mixture steep for many hours, so the ingredients really infuse into the water, enriching it with fresh flavor, electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium, to name a few), and other essential oils and salts. It makes the water much more flavorful to drink, without adding any sugars or preservatives you find in sodas or other carbonated drinks. It’s easy to be lured by the marketing hype of colorful sports drinks, detox brews, and vitamin water with clever names and flavors. Still, water is really what our bodies crave — it’s free, it’s safe, it’s readily available, and contains no sweeteners, additives, or calories. Boost the appeal of the water you drink at home by infusing it with the subtle flavor of summer’s produce.
Below you will find some very simple but excitingly delicious and thirst-quenching ideas to make infused water!
How To Make Infused Waters?
There is no set recipe for making infused water. Add herbs, fruits, or even spices in solid, crushed, or chopped form to water and allow to steep for about 3 hours on the countertop and another 4 hours in the fridge. You may choose to add a natural sweetener like crushed stevia leaves or raw honey. The possibilities of what you may add to our water are quite literally, endless! You can use infuser water bottles to make the job easier. Here are some of our top picks for water bottles with infuser rods.
When you buy your ingredients, it’s best to avoid anything sprayed with pesticide or herbicides since the chemicals, too, can leach into your water. A way to minimize the risk of this happening is not to use the peels or rinds of the fruit.
With herbs all in season these months, feel free to play with different herbal combos to bring out that freshness in your infused waters. Basil, chamomile, calendula chives, dill, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, spearmint, and thyme.
Not only is adding flower petals to your water an absolutely show-stopping addition to your average pitcher, but edible flowers also give distinctive flavors. Infuse water with blooms like Bee balm, borage, carnations, fennel fronds, hibiscus, hollyhock, honeysuckle, jasmine flowers, Johnny-jump-ups, lavender buds, lilac, nasturtiums, pansies, roses, scented geraniums, violets, and sunflowers.
If you, like me are a spice lover, you need the soothing fragrance of them in almost everything. Infuse your water with allspice berries, cardamom pods, whole cloves, crystallized ginger pieces, fennel seeds, juniper berries, star anise, or even vanilla bean for that calming sensation.
Fruit and Vegetable Infusions
Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines. Cranberries, cucumbers, berries, fresh ginger, and watermelon and melon cubes work wonderfully well as infusing elements as well as giving your pitcher a highly elevated aesthetic appeal.
Wondering where you can get the above ingredients from? Check out these websites below and the expansive list of herbs, spices, and fruits they offer for making your desired infused waters!
Infused Water Recipes
Cucumber & Lemon Water
This one is a classic, and you can’t go wrong with cucumber & lemon-infused water. Cut up a medium cucumber into ½ inch slices and add it to a pitcher of water along with the juice from one lemon. Chill for three hours and serve chilled.
Add 2 cups of your favorite summer fruits and two teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime juice to 4 glasses of water and let infuse for 3 hours. Refrigerate for an additional 3 hours. Add newly crushed Stevia leaves for a sweet taste.
Blackberry Mint Infused Iced Tea
This iced tea is perfect for the weather! In a 1 -quart pitcher add a generous cup of fresh blackberries. A handful of roughly torn up mint leaves will lend life to the drink. To make the tea, place two bags of green tea. Pour 3-4 cups of hot water and let steep for 15 minutes. At this point, remove the tea bags and let the tea chill for 3-4 hours to allow flavors to release.
CatSpring’s Cold Brewed Yaupon Infusion
A TexasRealFood favorite infused iced tea is the CatSpring’s Cold Brewed Yaupon. All you need is 3 bags of your favorite yaupon, freshly sliced ginger, bunch of mint (optional), and water. Place all ingredients in a pitcher overnight – that’s it! The simples thirst-quencher on a hot day. You can play around with the ingredients – add lemongrass, fruit, or any other herbs to your liking for a unique cold brew spin. Get your CatSpring Yaupon here!
Pineapple, Orange, and Basil Infused Water
If you’re only going to try out one of these, you gotta make this one! The citrus and basil flavors pair beautifully with the pineapple.
Grapefruit and Rosemary Infused Water
This one is more of a modern flavor. The grapefruit offers a slightly bitter, slightly sweet taste, while the rosemary adds a piney taste to the water. Not to mention, the perfectly sliced grapefruit adds oodles of sophistication!
Tips for Infusing Waters
Infusions can be done in glasses, jars, pitchers, and refillable water bottles with or without infusion rods.
You can infuse using fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
Remove the rind off of citrus fruits – peels can turn the water bitter.
Crush freshly herbs to release their essential oils and cover them with water immediately.
Get the kids to make their own favorite version of infused waters!
Remineralize your water by adding a pinch of pink Himalayan salt to your infused waters.
Add chia seeds to your water. Chia seeds absorb water and turn it into ‘gel’ water, holding more moisture and fiber in each seed. That, in turn, keeps you fuller for longer.
With sweltering temperatures, make sure you and your family are getting enough hydration. And remember to steer well clear of those sugared beverages!