Here’s the thing, there really is no true alternative to water. Your body loves it, craves it, and needs it.
I have had a love/mostly hate relationship with water all my life. I can remember raising my hand in earth science class my eighth grade year and asking my teacher, “Can I live a long, healthy life without drinking water?” His answer was “Yes, water is in everything, the food you eat, even soda, but…” That was all I needed. I ran with that explanation for years.
The truth is that even if you can survive without water, it doesn’t take away the amazing benefits that you could gain from drinking a healthy amount of water daily.
- Weight loss/maintenance (water is the staple to any major diet.)
- Aids in digestion, warding off sickness, and other health issues.
- Promotes healthy skin, hair, nails, etc.
- Avoids the empty calories found in most other beverages.
- Promotes shorter, more manageable menstrual cycles.
I have also found some ways to make water a little easier to drink if it’s not your favorite.
- Drink it first thing in the morning before your taste buds adjust to anything else that is sugary or flavorful.
- Drink water before, during, and after exercise when your body needs it most. This is the time I get in most of my water intake.
- Keep a water bottle beside your bed to drink before bedtime, while watching your nighttime television, or if you wake up in the middle of the night.
- Infuse with fruit and/or herbs (strawberries, pineapple, oranges, lemon, mint, etc) for added taste and health benefits.
- Add a water packet like crystal light with super low calories (think 5-15 calories) to keep your liquid intake high but calories low. You could also seek out a vitamin packet to flavor your water but also replace electrolytes (these may have slightly high calories, think 20-50 calories).
So where do the other beverages you drink stack up?
My favorite in this list is BodyArmor Lyte, advertised as a super low calorie (15-20) sports drink. It’s full of flavor and vitamins. I find that it is tasty, good for me, and the closest to water as far as calorie content and benefits.
If you’re a pro athlete or even a high school athlete, Gatorade may be great to replace electrolytes and help you continue to give your all in the game. However, for most of us, Gatorade has too much sodium and calories to be a great substitute for water. However, the G2 zero calorie option is better but misses out on the taste that original Gatorade provides.
Even water can’t provide the benefits that a protein drink like Premier Protein can give out. With 30g of protein, this is a great addition to your health and fitness regimen. However, all protein drinks are going to contain a good amount of calories (160 for premier which is good) so you’re going to want to limit these to one a day, at least for women. So a great addition but no substitute for water.
I love fruit juices! I’m sure we all do! When was the last time you checked out the nutrition facts? A juice can often contain as much calories as a soda, so while better than soda, we just can’t substitute it for water. Consider it a treat more than a staple.
I also love tea (especially if it is flavored)! Tea can be a great substitute for water, but watch the sugar content and calories! Aim for a natural green, black, or white tea! Black coffee can also be good for you to promote natural energy, before you add in the creams and sugars!
Milk has been doing our bodies good for quite some time! However, even whole milk typically has 90 calories a glass or less and the calorie content plunges downward when we look at 2%, skim, and even unsweetened soy or almond milk. If you’re not lactose intolerant, this may be a viable option for you, at least a glass a day to add some flavor to your beverage intake.
At the end of the day, we just can’t replace water but we can make it more tolerable by increasing our intake when we can and being smart with the other beverage choices we make when we aren’t drinking water.
I would also love to hear any water alternatives, you might have… comment below or continue the conversation on Instagram!