Road trips, I have often found myself making pit-stops at gas stations and “quickie marts” for nourishment when we’ve started to run low on snacks and fluids to keep both the driver and me feeling alert and hydrated. Standing in front of one of those wall-to-wall beverage fridges and deciding whether to spend my $3 on a plain bottle of water or a pretty pink or tangerine-coloured drink touting the addition of healthful vitamins and herbs is a decision I have been faced with many times. With names like “banana colada” and “acai blueberry pomegranate,” who can resist?
It’s been challenging to know what’s in some of these pretty vitamin waters, as these products haven’t required a nutrition facts table or ingredient list like other packaged foods. The good news is that Health Canada now requires these beverages as well as caffeinated energy drinks to follow the labeling requirements for food.
Until these products transition to meet these requirements over the next two years, you can contact the company or the company website to find out how much sugar, sodium or other additives are in them or look up vitamin drinks listed in the “other beverage” category of the Brand Name Food List. Interestingly, vitamin waters can have about 6-14 tsp (24-56 g) of added sugar per bottle – similar to pop and other sweetened beverages.
Despite the alluring flavours and colours of the products on display, I know I don’t need these drinks and I’d prefer to get my calories from food rather than sugary drinks. This summer I’ll stick with what I know, good old fashioned water. I’m going to plan ahead, freeze half-filled re-useable water bottles the night before the trip, then top them off with ice-cold water before I leave. This way, the water will stay cold for hours. I’m also going to try squeezing some lime or lemon, or tossing in a few slices of cucumber, strawberries, or chopped mint to bring my bottles of water to life.
Caution: if you kick it up with some homemade fruit flavours, you had better know where the rest stops are ahead of time…it’s that good.
What quenches your thirst on the road?
Find out more about sugary drinks at Healthy Families BC. See how much sugar you may be drinking with Sugary Drink Sense, and check out the myth busters.
Thanks to our guest blogger, Louisa Lee! Louisa is a registered dietitian and part of our Contact Centre team at Dietitian Services.