This post is from contributing writer Mary Voogt of Just Take A Bite.
Although much of our nation is still stuck on the SAD (standard American diet) way of eating, there is one healthy habit that has actually caught on. Drinking water!
I’m happy to see kids carrying water bottles instead of neon-colored drinks. Or worse yet, soda. One more baby step towards raising a healthier generation!
Water for the Win?
Before you start cheering too loudly, I’ve actually warned against the dangers of drinking too much water. Yes, you even need to find balance with water. And every person is different in terms of their water needs, depending on metabolic type and activity level.
I always have water on the table for my kids. And they listen to their bodies as to when and how much they want. My son goes through a lot of water (he is my not-stop mover). Whereas my oldest doesn’t drink much. She is my milk drinker (and is a slow oxidizer). I don’t force my kids to drink any set amount. They drink when they are thirsty (as we all should!).
More Nutrition for my Kids, Please
That being said, I am the mom that tries to add extra nutrients to just about everything we consume. I add liver to our rice, spinach to our smoothies and to our hot cocoa. There is always a way to make food more nourishing (I’ve even got lots of easy ways to get nourishment into picky eaters in my book.
Water is no exception.
We home school. So most days we are home for lunch. But some days we have to pack a lunch. And every time I send a bottle of water…it comes home still full.
I don’t want my kids dehydrated. But there is no way I’m sending juice boxes (definitely not in our grocery budget) to make them drink. So I did what I always do. I came up with my own version of “smart” water that is loaded with vitamins and minerals, but also tastes great. Plus it’s actually a lot more hydrating than plain water.
My kids don’t take a multi-vitamin. It’s hard to find a decent one without flavors or fillers. Plus my youngest is allergic to palm. Which means pretty much every multi is out for her (Vitamin A palmitate). So our “smart” water is our vitamin, along with a healthy diet.
I make our loaded water a few times a week to make sure my kids are getting essential vitamins and minerals and staying well hydrated.
Homemade “Smart” Water
There is no right or wrong way to make it. You can use whatever supplements you have on hand. Or you can tailor it to your kids’ tastes. My oldest likes it loaded with everything from nettle infusion to zinc. My son likes it a bit simpler. And that’s ok! They all still get extra nutrition when they drink it. My toddler’s favorite is some frozen fruit added to the water.
Say goodbye to boring water every day. Try giving your kids one bottle of “smart” water every few days. They’ll love the fruit flavor and won’t even know how good it is for them.
Presentation is Key
Putting “smart” water in a super fun glass water bottle (like these) is an added incentive. My kids each got one for Christmas. They are easy to clean and no need to worry about plastic! Plus my kids feel grown up with a water bottle like Mom and Dad that has fancy water.
My recipe is more a list of ingredients. You can tailor the dosage of supplements to meet your child’s needs. In general these are all very safe for kids of any age. But do avoid nettles if your child (like my son) is allergic.
This water is great year round, but is especially important in the winter to help boost immunity. It helps after a round of illness too.
- Vitamin C (1/8 tsp. acerola powder, camu camu powder or 5 -10 sprays Garden of Life vitamin C spray)
- Zinc drops (Bodybio drops, 5-7 per bottle of water)
- ¼ - ½ tsp. Magnesium (Jigsaw Magnow tart pink lemonade or Raise Them Well MagGo - KSMAGGO for 15% off!)
- ¼ tsp. powdered probiotic (Megaspore or Garden of Life raw kids)
- ¼ - ½ cup infusion (nettle, dandelion or a combination)
- 1 tsp. elderberry syrup (or make homemade elderberry syrup)
- pinch unrefined sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. pure organic grape juice (optional)
- 1 - 2 Tbsp. frozen berries (optional)
- ¼ tsp. cod liver oil (we like Rosita brand, optional - use KS10 for 10% off at Perfect Supplements)
- Add the supplements/juice/fruit to the water bottle.
- Fill to the top with water.
- Stir or shake to combine.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
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What’s In Homemade Smart Water
When it comes to boosting immunity vitamin C is key. It also helps those under stress (sadly that’s many kids these days) or with adrenal fatigue. It also helps repair tissues and aids in the absorption of iron. If someone is sick we immediately bump up the vitamin C intake.
Zinc is one of those minerals you don’t always hear much about. But it is so critical to good health. Last year I did HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) for myself and both of my daughters. And found we were all lacking in zinc! Sadly, many people are.
This can lead to digestive problems, hormone problems and even trouble concentrating. It is also another great immunity booster. Low levels of zinc are also related to low energy levels as it plays an important role in digestion of proteins and carbohydrates. Zinc is definitely at the top of the list of key supplements for our family. And it’s so easy to add the drops to anything we drink.
It seems to be common knowledge these days that just about everybody is low in lead to a host of problems like low energy, poor digestion, muscle spasms (think restless legs), anxiety and trouble sleeping. And overconsumption of calcium (in both food and supplements) just compounds the problem.. Which can
There are quite a few forms of magnesium. Some are oral. Some are topical. The topical forms (like spray, lotion or epsom salts) tend to absorb better. But some of the oral forms are great too. We really like the Jigsaw brand. I make sure not to go overboard with it so as to not impact digestion too much. You’ll have to see how much your child tolerates.
I love when our water is helping heal our guts. Probiotics support a healthy digestive system and overall health. You can use a powdered version or open a capsule to add to water. Most are tasteless. We like the Garden of Life raw kids’ probiotics. They have a slight fruity flavor.
I started using infusions regularly about two years ago to help with hormone balance. As I researched more I realized just how great they are for so many things. Simply steep tea overnight to get the full benefits.
For kids my favorites are nettle and dandelion. Dandelion infusion provides wonderful liver support. It is on the bitter side, so it may not work for every child. Stinging nettles have a very mild flavor and are great for helping with seasonal allergies.
Whenever someone in our family is sick I immediately reach for the elderberry syrup. This stuff is like magic. It helps fight colds and the flu so well. I make a batch about once a month (from the berries that grow wild in our yard and we freeze in the summer) but you can buy dried ones online. I give it daily when someone is sick. But I also add it to our “smart” water and smoothies to help prevent sickness.
Salt might seem like an odd addition to water. But if you are using real, unrefined sea salt it makes perfect sense. Real salt is loaded with trace minerals. Plus it is critical for hydration and fluid absorption. So it is an essential ingredient.
A splash of grape juice is an optional addition. It is a great flavor booster if you have a picky child. I have heard that grape juice helps fight and prevent the flu. I don’t know about the science behind it. But I figure it can’t hurt to add a splash! My kids don’t normally drink any juice. So a tablespoon or two in their water is a special treat. But it is not essential.
Cod liver oil
I put this ingredient last. It’s not something I normally add to our water. BUT…really there is no great way to get cod liver oil down in my opinion. So if I can cover it up with other fruity flavors I’m all for it. Cod liver oil does have a very strong flavor. So you’ll have to experiment and see if your kids can taste it too much or if it is your new go-to way to get cod liver oil down.
I’m not a big fan of supplementing with Vitamin D alone as some say it can cause some serious imbalances with other minerals (one more thing I learned doing HTMA – my extra D was ruining my health!). But I do love to use cod liver oil since it has a balance of vitamins D and A and omgea-3 fats that we all need. Even if you can’t hide it in your “smart” water, your kids can chug it and wash it down with their special water.
Kids Have All the Fun
Don’t worry, this water isn’t just for kids! I make it for myself too. Even adults can use a nutrient boost and better hydration. You can even buy yourself a fancy water bottle if you like…it might help you feel cool too!
Join the movement to drink enough water daily. But add a little extra sometimes to make sure you’re getting essential vitamins and minerals and helping your body actually absorb your fluids.