Homemade Healthy: Infused Beverages

One of the easiest ways to improve your diet is to cut out sugary drinks. In place of those sugary drinks, consider infused beverages, which you can make by adding a few fresh ingredients to water or iced tea. This way you’re adding refreshing flavors, natural sugars (in things like citrus fruits or berries) and antioxidants without the added sugar.

Sugar-sweetened beverages have little to no benefit. They contain empty calories; this means they provide a ton of calories without having any beneficial nutrients. For example, a 12-ounce can of cola contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Drinking two cans a week can lead to an average 3.5 pound annual weight gain (based on 3,500 calories = 1 pound).

How to Make Infused Beverages

Step 1: Choose Your Base

  • Plain water
  • Sparking water or club soda
  • Mineral water flavored with lime, lemon or other natural flavors
  • Iced tea — green, white, oolong and rooibos have large amounts of antioxidants

Step 2: Add Fruits and Veggies

  • Citrus: Lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit all make great additions. They have vitamin C, which will also infuse into the water.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries all have natural sugars and antioxidants. Tip: Use frozen berry mixtures to save time and money.
  • Fruits: Mango, pineapple, watermelon and peaches all work well in infused beverages. The trick is to choose soft, juicy fruits (like melons) as opposed to firm fruits (like apples).
  • Veggies: Cucumber and ginger are two tasty options for infused water.

Step 3: Herbs and More

These herbs and spices all have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties:

  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon sticks

Step 4: Muddle, Marinate and Enjoy

You can store these waters in closed jars in the refrigerator overnight to allow them to marinate.

Some of Our Favorite Combinations

  • Cucumber and mint sparkling water
  • Citrus combination water (lemon, grapefruit, lime and orange)
  • Strawberry and basil iced tea
  • Peach and mint sparkling water
  • Orange, lime and rosemary water

This post was originally published on March 26, 2014. It was last updated May 23, 2017.

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