Summer is here and it is HOT! We all know how important it is to stay hydrated. It is especially important that children get plenty of liquids throughout the day. Unfortunately, many parents revert to sugar filled drinks, including store bought juice. I have to admit that I am not a major fan of plain water but there is something very exciting about drinking beautiful infused water.
As a holistic health coach one of the first things I recommend to parents who want to get their children on a healthy diet is to get rid of store-bought juice. There are many reasons why this isn’t a healthy choice for your little one. The main problem is that it fills your child up, making them less hungry, meaning they fill up on less nutrients that would come from real food. Another thing to keep in mind is that store bought juice is flash-pasteurized, which means many of the essential nutrients are killed off during the heating process.
A growing body of science is linking sweet drinks, natural or otherwise, to a host of child health concerns, everything from bulging bellies to tooth decay.”All of these beverages are largely the same. They are 100 percent sugar,” Dr. David Ludwig, an expert on pediatric obesity at Children’s Hospital Boston, said recently. “Juice is only minimally better than soda.”
It is important to get children into the habit of appreciating good ‘ol plain water so that they don’t always associate liquid with needing to be sweet. There are times, especially on particularly hot days that you want to make sure your children have extra hydration or want to offer something more “exciting” so below are recipes for healthy hydration!
All Natural, Hydrating Infused Water
Fill up a water-infused pitcher, choose a fruit/herb/veggie combination (from list below) and let it infuse! I love to let it sit overnight so that it creates a more robust flavor. This is the real Vitamin Water (with no added junk!).
- Lemon and Mint
- Orange and fresh cranberries
- Grapefruit and Rosemary
- Blueberries (or any fresh/frozen berries)
- Cucumber and Mint
- Grapes and strawberry
- Mango and Mint
- Strawberry and Basil
- Watermelon and Mint
My son loves when I just add frozen blueberries to his water bottle! Fruit infusion makes drinking water more exciting and enticing to the eye, for both kids and adults!
The big difference between water infused fruit water and fruit juices is that juice is loaded with sugar that is readily metabolized into fat. This includes both packaged fruit juices and fresh fruit juices. Yes, it is healthy to eat fresh fruit, but any time you are consuming fruit juice, you are eating spoonfuls of fructose sugars that raise your insulin, slows your metabolism and leads to weight gain.
By putting pieces of fruit into purified water, you get the flavor of your favorite fruit, but without the sugars and calories. Including fruit rinds in your water recipes adds even more fruit flavor. Just make sure it is organic.
Fruit infused waters are not going to be as nutritionally dense as a piece of fruit or as freshly squeezed juice, but many nutrients do leak out of the fruit into the water, especially if soaked overnight.