I’m having a love affair with coconut water. There…I’ve said it.
I am late to the whole coconut water trend. I tried it for the first time just this past October. That’s because I believe calories shouldn’t come from a beverage unless there is a true nutrition benefit, such as milk.
I stick to water, tea and iced tea. I’ll have a fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice when eating out for breakfast and a diet coke when eating out for lunch or dinner. I try not to drink these beverages in the house.
So, when I tried real coconut water at a health food cafe, I was blown away by how much I loved the slightly-sweet, refreshing liquid. So much so, I went back for my daily allotment for an entire week. At just 45 calories per 8 oz. and loaded with potassium, I finally found a beverage other than water and tea that I can feel good about drinking regularly.
However, at $4.50 a coconut (the price at the health food cafe), fresh coconut water is not a practical purchase on a daily basis, so I tried the packaged brands VitaCoco, Zico and Naked. There are other brands out there, but these are the three brands available in the Whole Foods where I shop.
Of the three, I find Zico most to my liking. VitaCoco has a wonderfully sweet taste, but the liquid is a little viscous. Naked is exactly the opposite–it has a clean liquid feel, but almost no flavor. To me, Zico comes the closest in taste and texture to real coconut water–not viscous and slightly sweet. (Note: I have only tried 100% coconut water and none of the flavored varieties.) I am also a big fan of the content and communications on the Zico packaging.
To my surprise, I found pre-cut coconuts at the grocery store that you can stick a straw through and sip the sweet liquid without all the hassle. At $2.99 a coconut, they are a bargain compared to the $4.50 I paid at the health food cafe.
I have made it a habit to rehydrate with this delicious tropical island drink after my workouts. So, I treat myself to a few fresh coconuts a week and supplement with the packaged brands on other days. It’s my reward for doing something good for my body.