Quenching summer thirst – part 2

As the temperature rises pay extra attention to avoid dehydration and try flavored water as a heat reliever.

Over the last few years flavored water has become increasingly popular. Manufactures have jumped on the bandwagon and created all types of products to increase our water consumption. As I walk the grocery aisles I am overwhelmed by the little containers of flavors for my water – the bubbly water; the claims of fruit flavored water (with hidden sugars); it is amazing that there is a flavor for everyone.

It is important for consumers to read the food label when they start picking up these bottled products or additives. Many of these items have a lot of extra sugar, calories, caffeine, artificial sweeteners or other additives. It is important to learn how to read the food label to understand the ingredients, serving size, calories, variety of wording for sugars and other areas of the food label.

 The claim of added vitamins and antioxidants can be nice, but it can also be expensive. We know water is the “best choice” for quenching thirst, but marketing campaigns and children wanting something besides plain water may cause us to cave. The key is to plan ahead:

  • Purchase re-usable water bottles or cups (something that can easily be washed out which will save on the expense of purchasing new, and avoid plastic bottle waste).
  • If you enjoy cold drinks, freeze overnight or bring ice.
  • Plan on extra – make sure you bring extra if you will be on the go for any length of time.
  • With kids:
    • Lead by example – drink water yourself
    • Offer straws or a special cup to add interest
    • Have drinks readily available to satisfy thirst
    • Limit options available

Another solution is to make your own flavored water. Utilize pitchers or canning jars to create your own flavors, and let kids try their own combinations, recording the likes and dislikes. Ideas to try:

  • Sliced cucumber
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Cubed watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew
  • Sliced oranges, lemons or limes
  • Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries
  • Herbs

Michigan State University Extension recommends you wash containers with warm, soapy water and then rinse and air dry before filling. Be sure to wash your hands before working with produce. Thoroughly rinse any ingredients under running, cool water before adding them to the water or slicing. Refrigerate the water once produce has been added. To enhance water flavor, produce may be left in the water for up to 12 hours and should be removed after that time. Flavored water may be kept in the refrigerator up to three days.

To add flavor to your water mix a container of fruit and water, keeping track of which combination is tried and liked. Make the best of the warm days, plan in advance to keep yourself and your family hydrated using water.

For more on this topic read Quenching summer thirst – part 1

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