The cheapest way to improve your health, drink water!


Lucky for us, in America water is free just about anywhere you go. Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages will not only help your wallet but could help to improve your health.

Although there are currently no set requirements for water consumption, the Food and Nutrition Board recommends that the average women consume 91 ounces daily (about 11 cups) and men consume 125 ounces daily (about 15 cups). (Certain groups may require higher intake levels, check with your doctor for more information).

This may seem unattainable to some but don’t worry, typically 20% of this amount is consumed within the foods you eat. With this in mind, women should aim to drink 8 cups of water-based beverages daily and men, 12 cups. This may still seem like a daunting task for some, below are some tips to include healthy drinks into your daily routine.

  1. Reusable water bottles can be a good way to encourage water consumption.
    Tip: Look for a 16-ounce water bottle and every refill counts as 2 cups!
  2. Infuse your water with your favorite fruits and herbs. See the recipe below to get you started.
    Tip: Freeze fruits when they are in season, and usually a great deal. Once you need them they can serve to flavor your water and help keep it cold!
  3. Soda-lover? Try switching to seltzer water or club soda. Look in your grocery store for calorie-free, carbonated drinks, available in a variety of flavors.
    Tip: Most restaurants have club soda available on draft, just ask!
  4. Attention caffeine-lovers: coffee and tea count towards your daily intake as well! Take it easy on the cream and sugar and these drinks can be a healthy way to reach your recommendations.
    Tip: As a Northern originally, I am allowed to say that tea does not always have to be sweet…sorry! Try different flavors and make it hot or iced. My new favorite is honey vanilla chamomile!

Try this: Strawberry Mint Water: -1/2 Cup frozen strawberries -1/4 Cup fresh mint -8 ounces water -Combine all ingredients in a cup or water bottle.


Megan is the Adult EFNEP Program Assistant in Orange County Cooperative Extension.


Coffee: Is it Good for our Health?

The answer is…it can be.


About 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. So, how does coffee affect our health? Recent studies indicate there are positive outcomes depending on our intake and what we put in our coffee. Moderate consumption of coffee may contribute to reduction of disease risks. These diseases include but are not limited to diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and cirrhosis.

However, drinking too much coffee has a downside. Although a cup of coffee (plain) has about 2 calories, many of us prefer to drink our coffee sweetened. Adding ingredients like sugar, flavored syrups, and cream dramatically increases total calories and fat. For example, a 16-ounce (or grande) Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (made with 2% milk and whipped cream) contains 380 calories, 14gm of fat, and 50gm of sugar…that’s over 12 teaspoons! [source:] This is a lot more than our bodies need. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that we limit added sugar to less than 10 percent of our total calories. This could range from 6 to 12 teaspoons depending on our caloric requirements.

In addition, high consumption of caffeinated coffee can also have a negative impact on birth outcomes. Although studies aren’t entirely conclusive, there is a greater chance of late miscarriage and/or stillbirth among women who have a high caffeine intake.

Before you order or make that next cup of coffee, be mindful of what additional ingredients you put in it.

Check out these resources for more information:
Coffee and Health (
What the Dietary Guidelines say about added sugars