Water: Can You Learn to Love It?
Recently my three-year-old daughter, who has very strong opinions about just about everything, proclaimed that she loves water.
That got me thinking: What if we could all have her unbounded enthusiasm about such a simple, healthy (ahem, sugar-free) drink?
Admittedly, she’s never had soda and has rarely had juice, so water and breastmilk are pretty much the only thing she’s familiar with, so she doesn’t have a craving for the sweeter stuff.
Still, there must be some wisdom in her little cotton-topped head, so I thought I’d explore the reasons why we should all love water (and how to choose it over other not-so-healthy choices), especially as we enter the hot summer months and need to focus on hydration.
Why drink water?
First off, water is calorie-free. Sugary drinks are generally just a high-calorie nutritional void, whereas water has nothing added and will be a benefit to your health rather than taking away from it.
Water is also one of the healthiest choices out there. Certain teas have benefits, but when you’re trying to stay cool at the beach, plain old water is probably your best option. And unless you’re running a marathon and need something extra in your drink, water should be your top beverage choice for summer hydration.
And don’t forget, water is (probably) free. Or certainly cheaper than the soda/sweetened coffees/fancy teas/kombucha you might be guzzling regularly. Turn on your tap and, hey, look, water! If it doesn’t taste great that way, try putting it through a pitcher water filtration system first.
How to make water more exciting
Now that you know the why behind the water, here’s the how:
- Take a break from sodas and sweetened teas (even those with no-calorie sweeteners) for a week or so in order to give your taste buds time to reset. Water will taste much better to you if you’re not expecting a flavor blast every time you quench your thirst, and those other beverages will feel like a treat.
- Add healthy (and sugar free) flavors on your own. Fill a pitcher with water, then add your choice of sliced cucumbers, sliced lemons, limes, or oranges, or even fresh strawberries or raspberries. Let sit a few hours or overnight, and your water may suddenly become much more appealing.
- Make sure it’s the perfect temperature. As much as I like water, I’m not all that crazy about it when it’s room temperature. I like it nice and cold, straight out of the fridge, and you might like yours better the same way.
- Add bubbles. My husband is a seltzer fiend—is it a New York thing?—so a couple of years ago I got him one of those carbonation tanks that lets you make your own seltzer at home. It’s cheaper and more earth-friendly than buying bottles of it at the store, and sometimes that little pop can make water a lot more interesting. My favorite way to drink it? Splashing some 100% lemon juice at the bottom of the glass first. It gives the seltzer a nice lemony kick and a little sweetness.
I’m going to confess something: In college I was a total soda addict. I can’t believe how much of it I used to drink! However, I got it in my head one day that I needed to stop drinking it, and I gave it up cold turkey. I got a killer headache that lasted a few days, but now, nearly two decades later, I almost never drink soda and water is my top choice for drinking. Maybe that’s where my daughter got the idea?
Do you have high blood pressure?