So, here are some ways that I have used to:
1. cut down on soda and 2. increase my water intake:
1. Flavored water. The most frequent reason I hear that we don't drink enough water is that the taste (or lack of) is boring or unappealing. There are lots of ways to flavor your water, such as no-sugar drink mixes like Crystal Light or Nuun no calorie electrolyte drink tabs. Crystal Light is easy and everywhere, but just remember that it's usually sweetened with Aspartame, so if you don't like that, then nix it. However, I discovered Nuun when prepping for my first Ironman in 2009 and I have been a loyal fan ever since. They come in all sorts of flavors and not only provide taste, but also add electrolytes, so they are especially awesome when you're in the midst of a heavy sweat session like BodyCombat or Spinning! Nuun is readily available these days. I've seen it in Sports Authority and even some grocery stores! Awesome.
1a. Homemade Flavored Water. This was a staple in my fridge this summer and my husband was always begging for it. Cucumber, mint and lemon water. It's so easy and it adds great flavor, plus the added benefits of cucumber (more water plus Vit B), Mint (facilitates digestion), Lemon (antibacterial and immune boosting). I also slowly let some of the cuke slices fall into my glass and I eat them up to get the added fiber benefit. :) Recipe at the end of post.
2. Green Tea /Low cal energy mix. I also will make green tea in a large pitcher and add lemon as well (and possibly a little stevia if I expect Matt to drink some as well). The benefits of green tea are tremendous (fighting cancer and heart disease, weight loss, etc.). An alternative to this is a great energy drink called FRS. This provides antioxidants (just like green tea does) and also claims to "promote thermogenesis to increase metabolic rate and help the body burn excess carb[s] and fat"* Before I was pregnant, I used to trade this out for my coffee before my early morning gym class. MiOEnergy is another one that I've tried a few times to add no-cal flavor and energy to my water. It was good, but again something I've just stopped taking since becoming pregnant.
3. Whole fruit juices. There are a plethora of whole fruit juices on the market these days for those of us too lazy to juice at home (even though we have an awesome LaLanne Juicer...yes, I'm talking to myself!). My current favorites are Naked Juice (more on that in another post) and V8 V-Fusion. Both of which also help you get some of your freggie nutrient intake in as well! Score! V8 V-Fusion is a mix of sparkling water and fruit juices. This is what I grab when I feel like I want a soda and it does the trick. I also make my own version using the amazing Sodastream. I whip up a bottle of carbonated water in the Sodastream and leave it unflavored. I keep that in the fridge and when ready, I pour half a LARGE glass of POM juice over ice and fill it to the top with the carbonated water. Love it! Again, makes me think I'm getting a soda, while bumping up my water AND freggies intake! Yay!
4. FREGGIES! What? Yes, whole fruits and vegetables. A lot of fruits and veggies are packed with water. By eating them daily, again you're upping both your hydration level AND your freggies intake, but this time, by also getting the added benefit of the FIBER and NUTRIENTS. Yippee! Here are just some of the great freggies that can work in this category:
- Blueberries and Raspberries
- Oranges and Pineapple
- Peaches and Plums
So, there are a lot of ways to stay properly hydrated every day! I love BALANCE, so a happy mix of water, flavored water, juices, and freggies would be a great way to keep your body properly hydrated and to keep that heart pumping nicely! (and in the essence of balance, then your occassional Diet Coke wouldn't have such a negative impact!)
What means do you use to increase or track your water intake? Have you cut out soda from your diet? If so, how have you been successful?
*Description from the FRS Package
Cucumber Mint Lemon Water Recipe
Fresh Mint Sprigs
Fresh Lemon Juice (I sometimes use the large bottle I get at Costco) (optional)
Liquid Stevia or sweetener of choice (optional)
Fill a large pitcher with tap or filtered water. Add cucumber, lemon, and mint to a pitcher and set in the fridge to steep. If you need a little sweetness, you can add a few drops of stevia in as well, but I usually only do this if I'm also adding the lemon juice to make something closer to lemonade. Either way, you'll love the freshness of this water! Keep it in the fridge and pour it over ice!