acquablend-bottle-fruit-infusionI’m always on the lookout for anything that will make it easier to raise healthier kids and drinking enough water is well up on my wish-list. Dehydrated kids are a pain in the butt. It affects their mood, their physical ability and concentration. If you are having trouble getting your kids to drink enough water, infused water might be the way to go.

Read on for how easy it is, read the results from experimenting on my kids, some benefits of doing it, avoiding too much sugar and daily fluid recommendations.

Infused water is simply water that has had something tasty floating around in it. The aim is to flavour the water, not to fill it with added nutrients. I’m sure there is some transfer of minerals, vitamins, sugars etc. but trying to quantify this seems almost impossible. If anyone has found any nutritional test results for infused water, please let me know. I can’t find anything substantial.

The most important aspect of infusing your own water is the control you have for what goes in. You can avoid all the rubbish that is added to commercial soft drinks.

Infused water on the go, buying and testing the Acquablend bottle

I jumped onto Amazon and ordered my new fruit infuser water bottle. I looked at the reviews and avoided all the bottles that had reported leaks. After reading all the one-star reviews, I went for the Acquablend model.

When the box arrived it was met with my wife’s usual “what have you ordered now?” and a sceptical approach to spending money on what amounts to another plastic water bottle. Our cupboards are filled with a large number of sponsored water bottles from every tech company and running brand you can imagine. None though are designed to have fruit stuffed into them.

Product wise, I’m really pleased. It does not leak even when upside down. It has enough room for plenty of fruit but still holds a good amount of water. It comes apart easily for cleaning and is a good quality build.

I know the taste (and colour) of infused water is nowhere near as intense as the bottled and canned drinks, but if you can get your kids drinking it, there are loads of health benefits. The main advantage is avoiding all the rubbish in packaged drinks and it is certainly more interesting than drinking plain water.

I experimented on my kids and the initial reactions were….

Pineapple infused “it’s like a really weak squash”

Strawberry infused “it doesn’t really taste of much but it is nice”

Lemon infused “it’s actually not that bad”

As time goes on, we are getting more used to drinking the lightly flavoured waters and do find them more palatable than just plain water. The kids keep asking for more which is never a bad thing. From my perspective, the basic aim of encouraging us all to drink more water gets a big fat tick-in-the-box.

Why it’s important for kids to drink water.

The effects of mild dehydration can become visible after only 4 hours without adequate fluid intake. Once you recognise them, it’s easy to avoid and keep everyone happier. Dehydrate your kids and you will see one or more of the following.

  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes. This is usually the first indicator of dehydration.
  • Lethargy. Your kids start to drag their feet and complain they are tired.
  • Irritability. The cognitive and reasoning parts of the brain don’t function as well when dehydrated, resulting in short tempers. Maybe my wife should drink more?
  • Muscle fatigue. Kids complaining their legs are tired. Lack of fluid affects muscle performance.
  • Headaches. Once you get past mild dehydration the first thing people tend to notice is a headache.
  • Random arguments, fighting, complaining, moaning, tantrums and general pain-in-the-butt kids behaviour.

How much should your kids be drinking?

After studying a number of reports, medical journals and recommendations from the sporting experts I reckon the ideal amount of fluid (from drinks, not food) for my kids should is around 1 litre for my 8 year old and around 1.5 litres for my 11 year old. I’ve added the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) recommended fluid intake table at the bottom of this post if you want more detail.

Water vs. anti-health drinks.

Emma and Josh are reasonably well health-trained and will drink water. I think this is because we deprived them of fizzy and sugary drinks for as long as we could. We lost the battle with this zero-tolerance approach once they were old enough to be at kids parties without us. Even now though, we try to limit the anti-health sugary and fizzy drinks as much as possible. Why do I care so much about this?

My quick unscientific survey of 10 popular canned soft drinks from my local supermarket reveals and average sugar content of around 47g per 330ml (330 ml is regular ring pull can size). That’s about 11 teaspoons of sugar or around 50% of a child’s recommended daily allowance (RDA). Take your kids to a fast-food outlet, super-size the drink and you have 100% of their sugar RDA in one shot.

Keep an eye on other more ‘healthier’ options too. Freshly squeezed orange juice has 33g of sugar per 330ml. Some flavoured milks (strawberry, chocolate etc.) have around the same. Even the flavoured water drinks that are on the market can have as much as 25g of sugar per 330ml. Infused water has very little sugar in comparison.

Even if you float 50g of strawberries and all the sugars miraculously dilute, then you are looking at around 2g in total. Take a fruit that is inherently sweet such as pineapple, you still have only around 8g of sugar per 100g. If a small amount of natural fruit sugar is the worst thing in your kids infused water then you are on to a winner.

There are many no-sugar alternatives but don’t get me started on artificial sweeteners. That’s a whole other horror story.

EFSA Recommended fluid intake.

1.       Sex Age group Amount of fluid from drinks and food (litres/day) Amount of fluid from drinks only (litres/day)
Boys and girls 2 to 3 years 1.3 0.9 – 1.0
Boys and girls 4 to 8 years 1.6 1.1 – 1.3
Girls 9 to 13 years 1.9 1.3 – 1.5
Boys 9 to 13 years 2.1 1.5 – 1.7
Female 14-18 years 2.0 1.4 – 1.6
Male 14-18 years 2.5 1.8 – 2.0

Source: EFSA

If you want happy kids, keep them hydrated. Post some feedback with your thoughts. We love to hear from you.