Six ways to make water less boring

  • Published
  • By Marita Radloff
  • HAWC registered dietitian nutritionist
Water is not the most exciting drink in the world, but it is among the healthiest. Not only does water help to regulate body temperature, aid in digestion and flush out toxins, but it keeps you feeling full, leading to weight loss.

But, many Americans aren't properly hydrated; studies have shown that nearly 75 percent of the population is chronically dehydrated, falling below the recommended eight cups of water per day. 

Over time, chronic dehydration can lead to many complications, such as fatigue, kidney disease, joint pain, headaches, ulcers and high blood pressure. 

Instead, sugar-laden drinks like soda and sweet tea are preferred due to their flavor and effervescence. A 32-ounce serving of regular cola has 271 calories and 65 grams of sugar - twice the amount of a slice of pecan pie! 

Being chronically dehydrated also leads to weight gain, since constant hunger is a sign of dehydration. When your body is missing the necessary amount of water to carry out daily functions, it tries to get it in any form possible, including food. 

If you're trying to lose weight, one of the easiest changes you can make is to swap soda or tea for water. 

Here are six ways to make water less boring!

*Add Fresh Fruit. Make your own 'spa water' by macerating raspberries, strawberries or watermelon in your pitcher. Add lemon, orange, cucumber or lime for a refreshing twist. One tip: don't go overboard on ingredients - stick with no more than four so the flavors aren't competing.

*Water Down Fruit Juice. Can't live without your orange juice? Add a few teaspoons of your favorite juice to a glass of water for a shot of flavor. Cranberry, pomegranate, grape and apple also work.

*Ice, Ice Baby. Add flavor to ice cubes by freezing fresh fruit or mint.

*Try Bubbly Water. Love carbonation? Try a naturally effervescent mineral water or carbonated water, which has zero added sugar and calories. 

*Drink Tea. Unsweetened tea, that is. Drinking decaffeinated or low-caffeine tea, like green tea, has many health benefits and adds variety to your normal H20 routine. 

*Add mixers. Not the alcoholic kind! Add Crystal Light or Mio for custom flavors that taste like they're high in calories, but aren't.

Strawberry Peach Spa Water
This summer ready drink uses seasonal fruits, perfect for peach season in Georgia.
Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Don't wait for the thirst to hit - aim for six to eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day!

· 2 cups of strawberries, halved
· 1 peach (about 1.5 cups), cubed
· ½ bunch of mint
· 12 cups of water
· 3 cups of ice 

Recipe directions
Combine all ingredients except ice. Refrigerate for at least four hours prior to serving. Makes enough for one gallon total of water.  Add ice right before serving)

Editor's note: All of these topics are covered in the HAWC's next 12-week Better Body, Better Life program starting April 4. The program is open to all employees and family members 18 and older. To register, stop by Bldg. 827 or call 478-222-6907.