Skip to main content

Hydration how-to: 7 simple ways to make drinking water more fun

| Healthy You | Eating Right

Image of water glasses with colorful striped straws and infused with cucumber, fruit and mint

Cucumber, lemon and strawberries are flavorful ways to jazz up your water.

You know the conventional wisdom: Drinking plenty of water is good for our health and being dehydrated can make it harder for our brains and bodies to function.

Yet even when we know the benefits, sometimes getting enough water throughout the day feels like … work.

How much should each member of your family drink? Little ones need just a few cups. Most adults should aim for about eight glasses. If you’re sweating from a workout or it’s hot and you don’t have AC (like many of us in the Northwest!), you may need more.

If you need inspiration to get your daily fill of H2O, here are a few places to start:

  • Keep your drink cold by partially freezing a water bottle, then topping it up to sip throughout the day.
  • Make water more exciting by adding fruit like strawberries, cucumber or lemon for a subtle flavor infusion.
  • Watch out for sweetened beverages, a sneaky source of sugar in our diets. Follow these tips from Misty Carlson, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at PeaceHealth in Springfield, Oregon, to help your family cut back. The CDC also has advice on how to rethink your drink.

More creative beverage upgrades

  1. Try an iced tea: Tea is a tasty no-sugar choice when plain water seems a little boring. And summertime is a perfect opportunity to drink it chilled. Feeling fancy? You can dress up a glass of iced tea with an orange wedge or a sprig of peppermint for extra panache. If you don’t want caffeine, choose herbal tea instead of black or green tea. There are lots of kid-friendly flavors in the herbal tea aisle, too.
  2. Add a smoothie to your rotation: If your family craves variety, try making smoothies for your beverage of choice instead of water or milk. Don't have a blender? Chop or mash soft fruit, such as bananas or berries, then stir or shake in a jar with water, juice or milk. Add protein powder and chia seeds to boost flavor and nutrition. Here are a few healthy recipes to try:
  3. Pour a sparkling water: When regular water feels blah, consider seltzer. Bubbles can add a festive fizzy “pop” without adding sugar. Sparkling water doesn’t have to be fancy. Several stores carry affordable options in bottles and cans. If you want to reduce your family’s single-use plastic, an at-home carbonation system might be worth exploring, too.
  4. Sip through straws. Have you noticed that straws make it more fun for your kiddos to sip their drinks? Here’s some good news: You can now find different kinds of straws that won’t harm the planet. They can be made of paper, metal, reusable hard plastic and even wheat (score! straws made of straw!). You might also find edible straws.
  5. Make fancy ice cubes: Kids (and adults) enjoy unexpected delights. Won’t they be surprised to find colorful, flavorful ice cubes in their next glass of water? Making fancy cubes is easy. Just pop a berry, a mint leaf or a sliver of cucumber into the water compartments when you fill the tray. You can also freeze cubes of 100% fruit juice to add a hint of flavor to a glass of water.
  6. Update your reusable bottles: Has your water bottle worn out? See what’s available in summertime or back-to-school sales. You might also find affordable options at a thrift store. If getting a new bottle seems wasteful, you might replace the part that’s showing wear. Did a perfectly good bottle go missing? Send your kiddos on a hunt. Maybe it’s under the bed, in the back of a closet, the car or a friend’s house. Or check the lost and found box at the soccer field, ballpark or school.
  7. Choose natural sweeteners: It’s tough to go without sugary drinks altogether. It’s okay once in a while and in moderation. If you want a treat such as sweet tea or lemonade, try making it from scratch. You can use a sweetener such as honey, maple syrup or agave syrup and control the amount.