Posts Tagged ‘flavored water’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Make Your Own Flavored Water

September 9, 2014

Cucumber and lime-flavored water

I don’t know about you, but downing at least 64 ounces of water per day is tough.  Companies have come up with low or no calorie drops that you can add to your water to give it a more flavor,and more chemicals and artificial ingredients to boot. Vitamin Water lists 20 ingredients, mostly unpronounceable, on the label of their water enhancers and popular brand Mio is right behind them. Don’t get drawn in by the occasional vitamin listed on the label. The artificial sweeteners, and other additives far outweigh the benefits of a little bit of vitamin B.

While enhancing the taste of your water might help you drink more, doing so naturally is the best bet.

You can make your own naturally flavored water by adding fresh fruit and herbs to a pitcher of water and letting it steep in the refrigerator overnight.
You can also freeze pieces of fruit and water in ice cube trays to provide a flavor boost while keeping your water chilled.

Be sure to carefully scrub all of the fruit before using to avoid adding any impurities to the water.

Citrus fruits, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange add vitamin C and a lot of taste to your drink.

Try adding less obvious choices, such as cucumber, strawberries, mint leaves or grated ginger. Many of these are known to reduce bloating and help digestion.

Create your own combinations to suit your palate. How about cucumber, mint and lemon or lime?
Orange and ginger? Grapefruit and basil? Give it a try and share your favorites in the comments below.

Drink up!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Drink Up!

May 29, 2013

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As the temperatures rise, it’s important that we up our fluid intake, especially when working out in the heat.

There are many ways to hydrate out there, and the supermarket shelves are filled with sports drinks, bottled waters, and enhanced waters to aid in that process. With all the choices, it can be a bit daunting.

How do you know when you need a sports drink to help replace lost fluids and electrolytes, and when good old H2O the best choice?

Gatorade, the most popular of the sports drinks on the market, was created to help replenish fluids and electrolytes of the University of Florida football team. An assistant coach was puzzled by the players extensive weight loss during games, (up to 18 pounds!) coupled with their lack of urine output.  In testing players, it was concluded that they were not only sweating out all of their body fluids, but also their energy and stamina were depleted, due to electrolyte imbalance, low blood sugar and low blood volume. At that time it was thought that drinking during exercise was detrimental to performance. The coach consulted with experts who disagreed.
The solution was to rehydrate them with water, as well as replace some of the salt and sugar lost in the process. Lemon was added to make the drink more palatable, and Gatorade was born.

If you are working out in the heat, with the intensity of the Florida football team, than a sports drink like Gatorade is for you. But chances are, most of us are working out for shorter periods of time, in more tolerable conditions. If you are working out at a very high intensity for more than 1 hour, (think marathon training runs) a sports drink might be in order.

Remember that these drinks contain calories. The average sports drink contains 50-100 calories per serving, or 125-250 calories per container. They are very high in sodium and sugars, and are highly processed with chemical additives and colorings, found to be hazardous to one’s health.

Flavor enhanced waters can be valid choices, since the flavoring often makes us consume more than we might if faced with plain old water. These too come with artificial baggage, and could serve to delete the benefits of your hard work.

Glaceau Vitamin Water and SoBe Vitamin Enhanced Water are among the best, using natural flavors and containing about 70 calories per container. They do come in plastic bottles, which carry BPA risks of their own. While the zero calorie-enhanced waters do not add sugars and calories, they do add artificial sweeteners and colorings.

That brings us back to water. Filtered tap water served in a glass or metal water bottle is almost always the best choice for replenishing before, during and after a workout.  Guidelines for athletes suggest 15-20 oz. in the 2-3 hours leading up to a workout, and 8 oz. about 15 minutes before. It is suggested to drink another 8 oz. for every 15 minutes of exercise, and to consume 8 oz. of a sports drink for sessions exceeding 90 minutes. Experts suggest weighing yourself before and after a very strenuous workout, and drinking another 20 oz. of fluid for every pound lost.

Be sure to tailor this to your size and activity level, to avoid discomfort during training.

Adding your own flavorings to tap water can make the drink a little more interesting, and still maintain it’s stellar health status.

Try adding a squirt of lemon or lime to your bottle, or toss in ice cubes with berries other fruits frozen into them. Mix up a de-bloating pitcher of spa water (previously featured here) or try this recipe via Men’s Health for a healthy, homemade sports drink:

DIY Sport Drink:

Dissolve ¼ cup sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt in ¼ cup water.

Add ¼ cup of orange juice or other 100% fruit juice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 ½ cups of water to the mixture. Chill and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Not So Healthy “Health” Foods

June 27, 2012

Do you ever wonder why you aren’t losing weight, when you feel like you are making healthy meal choices? Chances are, despite their healthy reputation, many of the foods you are eating are packed with hidden sources of sugar, fat and calories!
Our friends at Everyday Health shared the inside scoop on 11 not so healthy “health” foods with us:

Protein bars, or “power bars” are touted as healthy snacks with deceiving labels such as “gluten free”, “low fat” and “natural”, but most of them are just fancy candy bars. Watch out for high sugar content and artificial ingredients. Many protein bars have 300-400 calories, and aren’t as satisfying as whole foods with a similar calorie count.

Granola, the organic, whole grain cereal, dried fruit and nut mix, is actually extremely high in calories, fat and sugar. Consider it a topping to sprinkle on yogurt and not as a meal.

Dried fruits are high in fiber and vitamins, but are also high in calories and sugar, and lack the water content of fresh fruit.  Just one cup of prunes packs over 400 calories, while the same amount of fresh plums has only 76.

Sushi is a great source of lean protein, vegetables and seaweed. However, many of the modern rolls have fried foods, mayo or cream cheese in them. Soy sauce is high in sodium, which can cause hypertension and bloating.

Stick to simple rolls made of fish, fresh raw vegetables and brown rice, and leave off the sauce.

Most Caesar Salads have more calories than a cheeseburger! While the lettuce is a great low-cal base, the croutons, cheese and fatty dressing make it a hidden calorie bomb! Go for a salad with lots of fresh vegetables and some grilled chicken, with a drizzle of balsamic dressing instead.

Opting for the filet of fish sandwich sounds good, but once the fish is breaded, fried and slathered in tartar sauce, it is no longer a healthy choice. Putting it on buttered white bread just adds insult to injury. Next time, try a grilled fish sandwich (open faced on whole wheat) or a simple fish taco with salsa and vegetables instead. Hold the sour cream and cheese please!

Margarine can be a good choice for those watching their cholesterol. Many margarines use trans fats, which is worse for your health than butter. Make sure your margarine is plant fortified, which can help reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Fruit juices often have tons of added sugar to enhance their taste. Even the pure fruit juices miss the fiber and nutrients that are found in the whole food, especially those with edible peels. They can also add up to lots of calories without even realizing it.

Bran muffins sound healthy, but in reality, the sugar, sodium and fat added to the whole grains make them a diet trap. The supersizing of baked goods, adds to the problem.

Flavored waters and sports drinks are either high in calories, or filled with artificial flavorings.  Those touted as vitamin and mineral enhanced often don’t have enough to substantially contribute to your daily requirement. Unless you are really sustaining long, tough workouts, opt for good ‘ole H2O.

Turkey burgers are thought of as a low fat alternative to red meat, but depending on the cut and preparation, they can have more fat than a lean cut of beef. Look for lean ground turkey at the store, and go easy on the trimmings!

Want to know more? Check out the full article and video at Everyday Health!

Photos and information courtesy of Everyday Health


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