Did you know that water makes up between 45% to 75% of your weight? That your blood is 80% water? That if you don’t replace what’s lost every day, blood thickens, forcing your heart to work harder and raising your risk of a heart attack? But you choose your drinks wisely, because many are packed with calories.
In hot weather, maintaining a healthy fluid balance can be difficult. Yet staying properly hydrated not only helps you stay alert, but helps control appetite, improve your activity and athletic performance, and keeps every day symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and dry skin at bay.
While a large 24-fl oz glass of iced soda or a fruit juice or a chilled juice concoction or energy drink will keep you cool on a hot day, it can pack nearly 300 calories daily from sugar and other unhealthy ingredients!. So that clearly is not a good choice. But there are terrific low-calorie alternatives to a Big Gulp, and they can be just as tasty.
What to sip and what to skip to stay hydrated
- Make a pitcher of “infused” water. Take a pitcher of cold water and add sliced lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, or strawberries or herbs as mint and basil. Or, slice up any of your favorite fruit or vegetables. Let it sit for at least 3 hours. It gives the water some flavor without adding any extra calories.
- Fill a water bottle with water and put it your freezer at night. In the morning, grab it so you have it handy during the day. That way you get to sip on some refreshing cool water during the day.
- Try a fruit spritzer. Add an ounce of your favorite 100% juice to eight ounces of club soda or sparkling water.
- Try brewing tea and adding a fresh herb like mint. If you want it sweeter, add a natural sweetener like some Stevia (brand: Truvia).
- Make juicy ice cubs. Freeze 100% juice in fun-shaped ice cube trays and float them in glasses filled with seltzer or water.
Drink more the right way
- Have a glass of water before AND with each meal.
- After each trip to the restroom, drink a glass of water to replenish your fluids.
- Set reminders on your phone, watch, or email to drink every hour.
- Track your intake of fluids to make sure you get 6-8 glasses daily.
Water, it’s not just for drinking anymore
Drinking water isn’t the only way to keep you hydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine, 20% of your water intake comes from food. In fact, fruits and vegetables are composed of 90% water. And some dairy products, like milk and Greek yogurt, are around 80% water.
- Try a slice of watermelon. Not only is it 92% water, but it also contains the nutrients beta carotene, lycopene and vitamin C.
- Go for a cucumber. While being a great source of water, it also has vitamin C and the skin-soothing caffeic acid.
- Reach for a sweet tasting summer fruit, as cantaloupe, peaches or strawberries. They contain lots of water and potassium, which can be lost when you sweat.
- Make a nice crisp green salad. Lettuce contains more than 90% water. So not only does green salads make for a delicious appetizer, snack, or vegetable, they also keep you hydrated in the summer weather. And… lettuce also contains fiber, which will help keep you fuller longer.
- Try a smoothie. Put low-fat milk or yogurt in a blender with some fresh fruit and ice cubes. Blend it and enjoy!
Now for the fizzy drinks
If you miss the carbonation that soda offers, try a flavored water or seltzer with 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. Flavored seltzer can stave off cravings for the sweeter stuff. They are low-calorie and caffeine-free, yet full of flavor as raspberry, lemon-lime or black cherry and are just as refreshing. Or, get a bottle of plain seltzer water and add orange, lemon or lime slices.
Looking for more ideas? Check out this story on the Huffington Post.
Refreshing and healthy drinks help keep you cool on a warm summer day. They not only keep you hydrated but are good for your waistline. So, drink up and enjoy!