In another exceptionally unsurprising turn of events, a new study found that one in five American children and teenagers drink literally zero water on any given day — and compared to water drinkers, those in this hydro-hating cohort consume about 200 more calories a day imbibing sugary beverages instead.
This is, needless to say, a damn shame. “Kids should consume water every single day, and the first beverage option for kids should be water,” lead author Asher Rosinger said in a press release. “Because if they’re not drinking water, they’re probably going to replace it with other beverages, like sugar-sweetened beverages, that are less healthy and have more calories.”
The obvious lesson here is that soda sucks (also, juice), and water is better. But the problem is, getting people (especially kids) to actually choose water over their favorite soda can be particularly tricky.
In search of a remedy (if only for myself — I CAN’T EXACTLY SAVE THE CHILDREN, TOO), I reached out to a bunch of people who live and die by the water bottle to ask them how they force themselves to drink plain old H2O all day instead. Here are their extra-moist suggestions…
Get a Nice Water Bottle
“I bought a cute water bottle that I like to carry around so I drink water whenever I’m bored,” says 21-year-old makeup artist Marie Katz, who drinks between two and three liters of water a day. There are all kinds of water bottles on the market these days, but I personally recommend finding something insulated, so it keeps water cold for long periods of time — which might encourage you to drink more — and prevents condensation from getting all over everything. These bottles also tend to last forever, which is always a plus for when the world-ending meteorite finally hits.
Spice Things up a Bit
Plain old water is cool, but adding some fruit — or even a dash of juice — might help you drink more, especially if the taste of water bores you. “I fill my water bottle with berries and lemon juice, which makes the water taste like something and adds a light tint, making it more fun to drink,” Katz says.
Danna Hunnes, senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, seconds this approach, emailing me something that resembles water-based beat poetry in response to my query:
Drink it cold.
Drink it fizzy.
Drink it fruit-infused.
Drink it with a spritz of lime, apple or cranberry juice.
Just drink it!
“Make drinking water a competition amongst the children,” says 27-year-old financial advisor Beau Simon, who drinks about a gallon of water a day. “They’ll drink that sh*t up.” Adults can also join in on the fun here, so don’t be afraid to challenge your friends, partners or desk neighbors to a water-drinking competition (it might be lame as hell, but it’ll do your body good).
Just remember: Chugging water is a bad way to hydrate, so this approach would be best utilized as a full-day challenge, where all parties meet up at the end of the day to compare how much water they consumed. One other thing to remember is that, while extremely rare, it’s possible to over-hydrate. The best way to go about gauging how much water you actually need is simply to follow your thirst and drink accordingly.
Use a Water Filter
“Have a decent water filtration system so your tap water doesn’t taste weird,” says 26-year-old transformer salesman Justin Breidenbach, a dude who’s been told he drinks too much water. But while these filters do usually improve the taste and keep the water cold (which again, might encourage you to drink more), they also tend to become repulsive and germ-ridden over time. Just something to consider.
When I posed the question about drinking more water to my Facebook friends, the first and most-liked response was about sparkling flavored water. And sure, generally speaking, this is both healthy and hydrating (despite the fact that one company was recently sued on the basis that natural flavor, the one ingredient in their sparkling beverage other than water, actually isn’t natural at all). There have, however, been studies that suggest flavored sparkling waters can damage our teeth thanks to their acidic pH value, so you’re always safer drinking regular old water.
If all else fails, maybe follow this weird Twitter bot that reminds you to drink water every single hour of every single day. Whatever it takes, right?