When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, soda can be a huge obstacle for many people. Even though it is loaded with sugar and carbohydrates, soda is my go-to thirst quencher that tastes sweet and delicious, but it adds hundreds of calories to my daily intake.
Consuming too much refined sugar on a regular basis can cause weight gain, joint inflammation, heart disease, aging skin, and type 2 diabetes -- among other health problems. So, drinking dozens of teaspoons of added sugar on a regular basis is simply not a healthy lifestyle option.
But, if you love soda as much as I do, it can be difficult to find something to take its place. Juice, Kool-Aid, energy drinks, and tea also have tons of sugar and/or caffeine, and they aren't a big step in a healthy direction. Luckily, there is an option that is both healthy and delicious -- infused water.
Infused water is a combination of fruits, veggies, and herbs that are immersed in cold water. It is also known as detox water, fruit flavored water, or fruit infused water. It is full of flavor, but has very few calories and no added refined sugar, which makes it incredibly effective for better health and weight loss.
There is natural sugar in fruit, but it does not have the same effect on the body as refined sugar. And, it adds that sweet flavor to water that soda drinkers love.
Unlike soda, infused water has multiple health benefits, plus water and weight loss go well together. Within ten minutes of drinking water, you will burn 25 to 30 percent more calories, and that can last for as long as one hour. So, if you drink water constantly throughout the day, it is an incredible boost to your metabolism.
So, instead of grabbing a soda the next time you want a sweet, refreshing drink, try one of these infused water recipes that will quench your thirst plus provide your body with micronutrients that have major benefits.
We will start with lemon water because it is the most common infused water recipe, and it is something that you can get at any restaurant when you are eating out. It is simple and tasty, and you can drink it hot or cold. To get all of the nutritional benefits of the lemon (or any fruit you infuse into water), you have to squeeze the juice into the water, instead of just adding slices of lemon.
To make it at home, all you need to do is fill a pitcher with ice and water, and then squeeze the juice of two or three lemons into the water. Lemons have a high potency and flavor water more dramatically than other fruits, so how many lemons you use in your pitcher is ultimately up to you, depending on how much lemony flavor you want.
Leave a few lemon slices in the pitcher so they can also infuse the water. This simple recipe provides vitamins C and B, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
You don't have to stop with lemons, however. You can add mint or slices of limes or cucumbers to the lemon water for even more flavor.
Also known as a flat belly drink, apple cinnamon water is delicious and easy to make. If you want a strong flavor, add a thinly sliced apple (no seeds) and a cinnamon stick to a pitcher filled about 2/3 full of water. If you want just a hint of flavor, fill your pitcher all the way up.
Cucumber water is incredibly refreshing on its own, but if you add the sweetness of strawberries with the crisp taste of cucumber, lime and mint, you will get an amazing flavor like this recipe from The Feed Feed.
Both ginger and mango boost your metabolism, and ginger is also a natural pain reliever, can reduce motion sickness, and gets rid of heartburn. With all of those benefits, why wouldn't you want to try this recipe for Mango Ginger water from Good Times Good Eats.
With just a couple of sliced oranges and a handful of blueberries, and perhaps a slice of kiwi, you can make this flavorful infused water from Whole Healthy Glow that you won't be able to keep stocked in your fridge because everyone will constantly be drinking it.
There is really no exact recipe for this infused water combination, just simply mash a handful of blackberries and put them into a pitcher of water to release the juices. Then, rub some mints and place them in the pitcher before letting it sit overnight.
If it is time for a cocktail, but you want to avoid the alcohol, try mojito water from Eat 8020 for a light and tart drink that will make your taste buds happy. All it takes is one lime (sliced) and eight mint leaves for every four cups of water. Then, add ice and let it infuse in your refrigerator.
This unique combination features slices of pear, plus ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla bean, and it can help improve your digestion, boost your immune system, and ease nausea. Plus, it will always quench your thirst.
This one from the Bypass Princess is popular with kids and grownups alike. Simply put two cups of halved grapes into a gallon-sized pitcher and add one thinly-sliced orange with the rind. Then fill it with water and ice, and let it refrigerate overnight.
This recipe calls for a half cup of fresh blueberries, two kiwis (thinly-sliced), and three mint leaves. Add the ingredients to a pitcher of water with ice, and it will be a delicious drink that has multiple health benefits. The kiwis and mint leaves help digestive health, and the blueberries are awesome "brain food."
This infused water recipe from The Feed Feed works well for pitchers or a glass mason jar. You can use as many different types of citrus as you want -- like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes -- and the result is a beautiful drink that will keep you hydrated and happy throughout the day.
For this recipe from Budget Savvy Diva, take a few fresh cherries and cut them in half. Then, you will need one fresh lime, sliced into thin slices. Put the fruit into a one-gallon pitcher and add water. Mix it gently and enjoy.
To improve the flavor of all of these recipes, it helps to use a high-quality glass pitcher. And for maximum flavor, let your homemade fruit-flavored water sit in the refrigerator for at least twelve hours so it can infuse.
Most will last in your refrigerator for up to one week. And once you have finished your first pitcher, you can refill it with water and ice and let the remaining fruit flavor your water again. It won't be as strong, but it will still have flavor.
And, for just about every infused water recipe, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to the measurements of ingredients. It is all about what you have on hand and your own taste preference. Just be sure to slightly mash the fruit, so you release the juices, and use your hands to rub the herbs so that they release their natural extracts and oils.
Cutting soda out of your daily diet and adding delicious infused water has multiple health benefits. There are endless combinations that have rich herbs, fruits, and vegetables. And once you start trying these delicious recipes, you will forget all about sugary soda. However, these 12 ideas are just an inspiration. So, start experimenting, and you will surely find the perfect infused water that you can't live without.