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Homemade Flavored Water and Other Sugar-Free Beverages

Alternatives to Soda and Plain Water

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Updated May 16, 2014

Lemon water with lemon slices, close-up
Julie Toy/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Are you having trouble drinking all the water you think you should? Sometimes plain old water gets boring, and adding some flavoring can help you drink more. You can buy flavored water, of course, but I think it's one of the most overpriced things in the store. Here are some ideas for drinking fluids that don't include adding a bunch of sugar, or cost a bunch of money.

Natural Additions

If you want to stay away from artificial additives and caffeine, you can add some flavor to your water the natural way with:
  • A twist of lemon or lime (or a little juice)
  • A small piece of fruit
  • A little unsweetened cranberry concentrate (look in health food stores)
  • A slice of cucumber (subtle, but refreshing)
  • A mint leaf or two ("bruise" them a little to release the flavor)
  • A lavender flower or other edible flower
  • Herbal tea bags
Also see: How to make a Sugar-Free Sports Drink

On the Sweeter Side

If you don't mind some artificial sweetener or other additives, try adding:
  • A little diet cranberry juice (not "light", but "diet" -- the light kind has more sugar) (try mixing with diet ginger ale)
  • Crystal Light, Unsweetened Kool-Aid, or other sugar-free drink mix (but check carefully for hidden carbs in some)
  • Make a limeade or lemonade by adding some juice (1 gram of carb per tablespoon) and sweetener
  • DaVinci or Torino Sugar-Free Syrups

Add Some Sparkle

  • Any of the above flavorings can be added to plain club soda, seltzer water, or diet tonic water.
  • Buy flavored sparkling waters at the store.

Coffee and Tea

Some people find that caffeine derails their diets, while others aren't bothered by it. One of the many good aspects of coffee and tea (along with antioxidants, etc) is that there are minimal carbs involved, unless you add them yourself. Bottled unsweetened or diet teas are also easy to find, or brew them yourself.

Warning: Coffee drinks can be loaded with sugar. Check out: Carbs and Calories in Coffee drinks.

Other Related Resources:

Should caffeinated beverages "count" in my water total?

About.com's Coffee and Tea Site

Gussy Up Diet Sodas

I try to make diet soda an occasional thing, because every so often I come across a study that hints that they aren't too great for us. When I do indulge, I try to make it a treat, such as:

Root Beer Non-Float: Add cream and a little vanilla to diet root beer to mimic the flavors of a root beer float.

Adding lemon or lime juice to diet sodas, especially colas, cut some of the sweetness and add a delicious dimension.

**More Low Carb Beverages**

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