Ah, Summertime…the living is easy (and if you live in Vegas, sweaty). With temperatures expected to hit 110◦ later this week staying hydrated is a priority. Most of our body is made up of water and the heat can quickly become overwhelming, especially for infants and children. Studies show that by the time you sense thirst you have lost 3-7% of your body’s water volume. Symptoms of dehydration include: thirst, dry or sticky mouth, lethargy, and low urine output. Sunken fontanelles (the soft spot on top of the head) are another symptom in infants. Although urine color can be affected by diet, medications, and vitamins it is still a good way to determine hydration status. Ideally it should look like lemonade. Lighter or clear urine suggests overhydration while darker color urine can indicate dehydration.
We get water from the foods and beverages we consume. Choosing a beverage is almost as important as making sure you are drinking enough liquids. Many sugar sweetened beverages, such as soda, lemonade, or iced tea, have excess calories and can contribute to weight gain. Diet soda is no better as new research shows it can actually lead to weight gain! Juice has a little more nutrition but is still comparable in calories to other sugar sweetened drinks. Crystal Light and other similar products are okay in moderation but probably shouldn’t be consumed frequently due to the artificial sweeteners and colorings they contain. Gatorade is only recommended if you are doing hard physical labor or exercise and have been sweating excessively. Water really is the best drink in the house. But it can get boring. A great alternative is fruit infused water (or as I call it frusion water). A quick internet search reveals thousands of recipes some including herbs. These waters are not meant to be sweet but to have a light fruity flavor, think cucumber water you get at the spa. Below is a simple and tangy recipe to get you started.
Raspberry Lime Infused Water
1. Slice two limes and squeeze juice into a mason jar or pitcher.
2. Add a handful of raspberries and with a muddler or wooden spoon lightly press the berries to release some of their juice (but don’t crush them).
3. Fill the jar or pitcher with ice and add water to the top.
4. Stir and cover with mason jar lid or saran wrap.
5. Refrigerate. Allow water to infuse for about an hour and then enjoy!
Be sure to remove the fruit with a strainer after three to four hours to keep the flavor from getting too intense. The water will have a light pink color and subtle raspberry lime flavor. You can use any fruit combination you like. I don’t recommend bananas as they get very mushy and hard to strain out. Fresh or frozen work equally well. Frozen will be the better choice when the fruit is not in season. Since frozen fruit is picked at the height of its ripeness you may find that it offers a sweeter flavor. Vary the quantity based on the size of the jar or pitcher you use and the intensity of the flavor you want.
Fruit infused water is quick and simple to make with limitless combinations and something the whole family can participate in making. And it’s a much healthier beverage choice.