The Best Water Flavorings, According to a Dietitian

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets are affordable and rich in vitamin C

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The 7 Best Water Flavorings of 2022, According to a Dietitian

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Our bodies are made up of about 50-60% water. Water is essential for all functions of the body. “If you want to be on your A-game (and we all do), hydration is key. Even a 2% loss in hydration has been found to impact cognition, memory, mood, and reaction time,” says Callie Exas MPH, MS, RDN. Dehydration puts added stress on the body and, according to Exas, “can impact blood sugar balance, blood pressure, and hormone regulation. [Hydration is] really important for whole body health and wellbeing!”

Daily water needs vary from person to person, but the general guideline is between 11.5 cups and 15.5 cups for adults. Some groups of people are at a higher risk for dehydration and may need even higher water intakes. These groups include athletes or people who sweat more, people currently breastfeeding, and those who are chronically stressed or burned out, according to Exas.

The importance of water is clear, but what if you don’t enjoy the taste of plain water and struggle to meet your hydration goals? Water flavorings can make drinking enough fluids more enjoyable. There are many pre-packaged and homemade options to try out and find your favorite. When choosing our top water flavorings, we considered the added sugars and supplemental ingredients, avoided products with high amounts of caffeine, and factored in flavors and ease of use.

Here, we share our picks for the top water flavorings whether you are looking for a simple taste addition or options with even more benefits.

Reviewed & Approved

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets are our top choice because they are a convenient on-the-go option made from one simple ingredient—lemons! Nuun Sport is a top choice for active individuals and athletes thanks to the addition of electrolytes.

Best Overall: True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets

4.6
True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets

Amazon

Pros
  • No artificial sweeteners or ingredients

  • Made from real lemons

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Tart flavor may not be enjoyed by all

True Lemon Crystalized Lemon Packets are our top pick because they are affordable, convenient, easy-to-use, and made from one simple ingredient—lemons! 

Lemon is the classic water addition, but you may not always have a fresh lemon at home or want to carry slices in your bag to add to a water bottle on-the-go. True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets solve this dilemma beautifully.

Inside each packet you will find small crystals made from real lemon juice and oils. There are zero artificial flavorings or added sugars, and it is non-GMO and gluten-free. Each packet contains no calories or sugar and meets 25% of your daily vitamin C requirements. 

Essentially, you are adding the equivalent of 1 fresh lemon wedge to your drink with each serving. It’s incredibly versatile to use in other drinks besides water and can even be used as a substitute for lemon juice in recipes. One downside might be that it does bring quite a tart flavor, which some people may not enjoy.

Calories Per Serving: 0 calories | Sweetener Type: None | Sugar Per Serving: 0g | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best for Athletes: Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun sport electrolyte drink tablets

Swanson Health

Pros
  • Tested for banned substances by LGC Science

  • Includes 5 electrolytes for sports performance

Cons
  • Contains stevia

For optimal performance and recovery, it is important to replenish the water and electrolytes athletes lose through their sweat. Nuun Sport is a rigorously tested product for recreational and elite athletes. It can easily be added into a water bottle to drink during a game or after a long run. Their tablets come packaged in a convenient, recyclable carrying tube that you can easily slip into your workout bag or running belt. Nuun’s tablets provide sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, all important electrolytes to help with hydration and cell functioning.

The tablets are available in a variety of flavors and can also be found with or without caffeine. They are kosher, gluten free, and the only other added ingredients they may contain are avocado oil, dextrose, stevia leaf extract, and beet root powder for color.

Please note that Nuun uses two sweeteners: stevia and dextrose (sugar). The sugar content is very low, which may be preferable for some, but athletes exercising at higher intensities, for longer durations, or in hot conditions may need more sugar to adequately rehydrate. If you’re one of those athletes, you may want to pair this beverage with a carb-containing meal or snack.

The tablets contain 300 mg of sodium per serving, which is beneficial for hydration during and/or after intense exercise, but it is a high amount for those who are not active. We therefore recommend this option only for active individuals or for those who otherwise need this additional salt.

Calories Per Serving: 15 calories | Sweetener Type: Dextrose and stevia leaf extract | Sugar Per Serving: 1 g | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best Fruit Juice: Natalie's Blood Orange Juice

Natalie's Blood Orange Juice

Fresh Direct

Pros
  • Pure fruit juice

  • No preservatives

  • Rich in vitamin C

Cons
  • Juice needs refrigeration

Sometimes the best water flavorings can already be found inside your fridge or served at your breakfast table. Adding a splash of fresh squeezed fruit juice to a glass of water can provide just enough flavor to help you drink enough to meet your hydration goals. Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company makes a variety of 100% pure fruit juices, and the blood orange flavor is particularly bright and delicious, making it a great water addition.

This non-GMO juice contains only blood orange—no preservatives, artificial ingredients, or added sugars. The blood orange fruit and its juice are rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants. If you’re feeling fancy, add it to your water along with a sprig of rosemary or mint to make it look like a tropical cocktail.

Make your flavored water by adding a quarter cup of fruit juice and filling the rest of the glass or water bottle with water or seltzer and ice. Key specs below are based on this recipe, while a full cup of this juice has 24 grams of sugar.

Calories Per Serving: 33 calories | Sweetener Type: Juice from blood oranges | Sugar Per Serving: 6 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best Ready-to-Drink: Hint Fruit Infused Water

Hint Fruit Infused Water

Walmart

Pros
  • No added sugar or artificial sweeteners

  • Grab-and-go

Cons
  • Less environmentally friendly

Hint is simply purified water with added natural flavors. It relies on those natural flavors for taste and does not add any sugar or preservatives. It is naturally kosher, vegan, and gluten free. You’ll note that, similar to flavored seltzer water, there is no sweetness at all in the flavor, which you may or may not prefer.

Their original product is flavored still water, but they now offer varieties that are sparkling, contain caffeine from coffee beans, and even have a kid-friendly line.

As it is ready to drink, choosing Hint means that you will keep buying plastic bottles, which may not be the most cost-effective or environmentally friendly. However, they do offer larger sizes which have a lower environmental impact and are more affordable than their smaller options.

Calories Per Serving: 0 calories | Sweetener Type: None | Sugar Per Serving: 0g | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best with Collagen: Vital Proteins Hydration with Collagen

Vital Proteins Hydration with Collagen

Amazon

Pros
  • May support healthy skin, hair nails, and joints

  • Contains protein

  • Contains vitamins and minerals

Cons
  • Not suitable for vegans/vegetarians

Collagen is popping up in everything from smoothies to chips, and it seemed like only a matter of time before it ended up in water. Collagen is a protein found in many structural components of the body, such as hair, skin, nails, and tendons. While the research of the impact of collagen on joint health and the effects of aging is mixed, it does seem to hold some promise.

Vital Proteins is a brand synonymous with grass-fed, pasture raised bovine collagen, and they have introduced Hydration** + Collagen water. This beverage provides 5 grams of collagen protein, vitamin C to aid in collagen incorporation and act as an antioxidant, and B vitamins for overall cellular health. It also contains small amounts of the electrolytes sodium, magnesium, and calcium, which may help support hydration.

One of the benefits of a beverage with a small amount of added protein is that it can be a very helpful tool for people who have food-based protein aversions and struggle to eat enough protein, such as pregnant people, older adults, or during illness. This product would, of course, not be suitable for vegans or vegetarians as it sources the collagen from cows.

Calories Per Serving: 25 calories | Sweetener Type: Dextrose, stevia leaf extract, monk fruit | Sugar Per Serving: 1g | Organic: No | Non-GMO: No

Best with Monk Fruit: SweetLeaf Squeezable Organic Monk Fruit Sweetener

SweetLeaf Squeezable Organic Monk Fruit Sweetener

SweetLeaf

Pros
  • Zero calorie

  • Very affordable

  • Easy to keep in your bag

Cons
  • Not suitable for those with certain food allergies

If you are monitoring your added sugar intake but still want to enjoy a beverage that tastes sweet, you may want to consider a water flavoring with monk fruit. Monk fruit is a non-nutritive, or non-caloric, sweetener derived from a Chinese plant that is actually 300 times sweeter than sucrose, so a little goes a long way!

The Sweet Leaf Liquid Monk Fruit Drops come in a convenient squeeze bottle, and each bottle provides 80 servings (1 squeeze = 1 serving) per bottle. There are delicious flavors like orange passion fruit, strawberry guava, and even caramel macchiato and English toffee. Please note that since the product uses natural fruit flavors, not all of the varieties will be suitable for certain food allergies.

Calories Per Serving: 0 calories | Sweetener Type: Organic monk fruit | Sugar Per Serving: 0g | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best Fruit-Infusion: Wyman's Frozen Mixed Berries

Wyman's Frozen Mixed Berries

Fresh Direct

Pros
  • No added sugars

  • Contains fiber

  • Can keep in freezer for months

Cons
  • Will need to make fresh daily

  • Need to keep berries in the freezer

If you prefer to eat mostly whole, fresh foods, you may choose to create water flavorings in your own kitchen. By concocting a homemade water flavoring you decrease the use of added sugars, preservatives, and other additives, and you might get some fiber in your glass. One idea is to keep a bag of Wyman’s Frozen Mixed Berries in your freezer, so that whenever the mood strikes, you can jazz up your water. This medley contains blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

To make this infused water, simply add 1-2 cups of the frozen fruit to a pitcher of water and let it sit covered in the fridge overnight. The next day, use a wooden spoon to mash up the fruit so that the berries can release their juice and flavors even more. You can take it a step further and add a fresh herb like mint before serving. This homemade fruit-infused water will only stay fresh for a few hours or one more night in the fridge at best.

Calories Per Serving: 5 calories | Sweetener Type: Natural sugars from fruit | Sugar Per Serving: Less than 1g | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best Vegetable-Infusion: Whole Foods Seedless English Cucumber

Whole Foods Seedless English Cucumber

Amazon

Pros
  • Subtle flavor

  • Easy-to-prepare

  • Affordable

  • No added sweeteners

Cons
  • Will need to make fresh daily

Have you ever been to a spa and seen a large water pitcher with cucumber slices floating in it? Fondly called “spa water” by some, this water and fresh vegetable infusion has become a classic. Cucumbers may not appear to offer much beyond crunch and water, but they are in fact filled with vitamins K and C and phytochemicals. Their subtle flavor also matches well with other ingredients you may want to add to your cucumber water, such as lemon slices, basil leaves, or jalapeno slices for some spice.

This infused water is very easy to prepare. Simply slice a cucumber into quarter-inch thick rounds and add to a pitcher of water. Feel free to add any of the herbs or mix-ins mentioned above. Stir and let sit in the fridge until ready to drink. Since the cucumber is fresh and will start to break down the longer it sits in the water, this infusion will need to be made fresh daily.

Calories Per Serving: 1 calorie | Sweetener Type: None | Sugar Per Serving: 0 g | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Final Verdict

For a pure and simple flavoring to your water that leaves out sugar and additives, try True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets. For replenishing lost fluids and rehydrating after a workout or sporting event, we recommend dropping a Nuun Sport tablet into your water bottle.

How We Selected the Water Flavorings

When selecting the best water flavorings, we investigated multiple aspects of the beverage flavoring market, including products with no-sugar added, those containing herbal ingredients, and those that may claim to provide additional health benefits. We understand that many people can struggle to consume enough water, so we made sure to consider flavorings that are easy to use and have appealing flavor options.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. 

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look for in Water Flavorings

Form

In general, water flavorings are going to come as a powdered, tablet, or liquid form, or in the form of fresh or frozen fruits or fresh vegetables or herbs. Which you use is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer to add flavoring to your water on-the-go, you may want to consider the easy-to-carry single serving products, which are generally found as powders and sometimes as drops.

There is always the pre-bottled or canned water option as well for ultimate convenience, though they may be heavier and may not be enough liquid to keep you hydrated for the whole day. Water flavored with fruit is best prepared at home, but you can add it to a water bottle to bring it on-the-go.

Nutrients

Sometimes flavored water is more than meets the eye. Many products also contain nutrients to enhance your water drinking experience beyond simply added flavor. You can find electrolytes in more sports-geared products, or something like collagen in a beverage promoted for beauty and cellular repair.

Exas says, “Unfortunately, the typical American diet is low in minerals that are important for hydration status. In cases where you have low mineral intake or where your minerals may be depleted (ie. burnout, taking certain medications, overexercising) adding electrolytes to your water can be helpful.” Again, this may not be the case for everyone, so speak with a healthcare provider if you’re curious about your individual mineral needs.

Caffeine Content

There is often a concern about caffeine having a strong diuretic effect, but truthfully, caffeine consumption has been found to only have a minor, short-term effect. The addition of caffeine to a flavored water has more to do with whether or not you want a little extra boost of energy and how caffeine makes you feel.

Sweetener & Flavorings

It may be hard to drink enough water if you are used to drinking soda or juice, which taste a lot sweeter. However, many of our picks provide plenty of flavor while leaving out sugar, so the transition to water may not be so difficult. We recommend leaning on the natural sugars of fresh fruit, such as in the fruit infused waters listed above, or stocking up on our Top Pick, True Citrus, which skips natural and artificial sugars. Non-nutritive sweeteners like monk fruit, stevia, and sugar alcohols are other ways to provide sweetness, but not everyone tolerates them well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is flavored water good for you?

    Not all flavored waters are created equally, so there may be some waters that are good options for some people, but not for others. Flavored waters that contain added sugars may not be appropriate for someone with diabetes, for example. Other waters that contain added electrolytes and vitamins may be beneficial for athletes or someone who finds themselves nutrient-depleted, such as people who have just had babies.

  • Does flavored water hydrate you?

    Yes, most likely! Seeing as the base of flavored water is still water, the science of hydration theoretically works the same whether you are drinking plain tap water or you decided to start drinking water with added flavor. Truthfully there is not much research on whether or not the addition of flavorings like fresh fruit, juice, or non-caloric flavoring packets hydrate you any better or worse than plain water. However, for certain groups of people, such as endurance athletes or people who find that they sweat heavily, drinking flavored water with added carbohydrates and electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, may further improve hydration.

  • Can you drink flavored water if you have diabetes?

    Being well-hydrated is an overlooked aspect of diabetes management. Water is very helpful for overall blood sugar balance, but be mindful of sugars in water flavorings. If adding juice to your water, keep it a very small splash, for example. Or you may want to opt for products that use natural, sugar-free fruit flavorings like True Citrus, or contain plant-based sweeteners that are shown to have no glycemic impact, such as stevia, monk fruit, or sugar alcohols (allulose or erythritol, for example).

  • Does adding flavoring packets to water make it more or less healthy?

    This depends on the flavoring! If the flavoring contains upwards of 5 grams or more of added sugar per serving, then continuous consumption of that product over a day may significantly contribute to your added sugar intake. Water flavorings that provide electrolytes and other minerals and vitamins may or may not be a healthier option for hydration, depending on your needs.

  • How do I make flavored water?

    Making your own flavored water at home is incredibly easy! All you need is a large pitcher, or a personal water bottle preferably with an infusion insert, and your fresh fruit and minx-ins of choice. Simply add the fruit and herbs/other flavor elements to the container (you can give it a little mash with a wooden spoon to release some of the juices if needed), top with ice and water, and stir to combine. For a more robust flavor, prepare this pitcher the night before and enjoy your infused water the next day.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Casey Seiden MS, RD, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist who specializes in pre and postnatal health for women, with a specific focus on blood sugar and diabetes management. She is the dietitian at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates in Manhattan, and owner of the online private practice, Casey Seiden Nutrition.

Was this page helpful?
9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Zhang J, Zhang N, Du S, Liu S, Ma G. Effects of water restriction and water replenishment on the content of body water with bioelectrical impedance among young adults in Baoding, China: A randomized controlled trial (RCT). Nutrients. 2021;13(2):553. Published 2021 Feb 8. doi:10.3390/nu13020553

  2. American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. How much water do you need?

  3. Kenefick RW, Cheuvront SN. Hydration for recreational sport and physical activity. Nutr Rev. 2012;70 Suppl 2:S137-S142. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00523.x

  4. Habibi F, Ramezanian A, Guillén F, Castillo S, Serrano M, Valero D. Changes in bioactive compounds, antioxidant activity, and nutritional quality of blood orange cultivars at different storage temperatures. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(10):1016. doi:10.3390/antiox9101016

  5. Czajka A, Kania EM, Genovese L, et al. Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides combined with vitamins and other bioactive compounds improves skin elasticity and has a beneficial effect on joint and general wellbeing. Nutr Res. 2018;57:97-108. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2018.06.001

  6. Shivani, Thakur BK, Mallikarjun CP, et al. Introduction, adaptation and characterization of monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii): a non-caloric new natural sweetener. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):6205. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-85689-2

  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Cucumber, with peel, raw.

  8. Zhang Y, Coca A, Casa DJ, Antonio J, Green JM, Bishop PA. Caffeine and diuresis during rest and exercise: A meta-analysis. J Sci Med Sport. 2015;18(5):569-574. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2014.07.017

  9.  McDermott BP, Anderson SA, Armstrong LE, et al. National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Fluid replacement for the physically active. J Athl Train. 2017;52(9):877-895. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-52.9.02