By: Amy Corcoran
Reviewed by: Melissa Mitri, MS, RD
Most of us know that staying hydrated is important, but putting it into practice is sometimes another story. Drinking water improves your health and may even help you lose weight. In this post, I’ll be sharing my favorite tips for staying hydrated this summer that you can easily incorporate into your routine.
As we enter the hottest months of the year, both the temperatures and your fluid needs rise. It’s common to lose track of your water intake during long days under the hot sun. Sometimes you might not feel thirsty, but that doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need water.
Maybe you’re distracted floating about in the pool or you lost track of time laying on the beach. No matter the scenario, it’s always important to stay on top of your hydration.
Having a solid hydration plan will help you stay energized and support your weight loss goals this summer. To get started, here are 11 of my top tips for staying hydrated this summer.
Photo Credit: David Lezcano via Unsplash
11 Tips for Staying Hydrated
When it comes to hydration, I’m not talking about those oh-so-sweet Starbucks lattes or soda. These are not hydrating, and they can lead to weight gain. Here is what to do instead.
1. Keep yourself accountable
Whether you choose to invest in a new water bottle, ask a friend to check-in, or nudge yourself with reminders, self-monitoring and accountability will keep you on track.
Purchasing a water bottle with time marking (or marking your own!) can motivate you to stay on schedule. Use a notes app or handwrite how much you drink and when. You can also download a hydration app like Daily Water Tracker to track your water and remind you to drink.
Set a timer or regular reminders to hydrate. Ask a coworker, friend, or family member to check in with you periodically. You can also place sticky notes on your kitchen cabinets, bathroom mirror, or computer to serve as extra reminders.
2. Make it fun and flavorful
What better time than summer to explore seasonal flavors in your water? Level up your water with exciting flavor combinations.
Try using a fun straw or colorful cup. Play around with unique and seasonal flavor combinations. Basil pairs well with peaches, strawberries, and watermelon; and mint works well with cucumber, lime, and blackberries. And melons, especially at peak ripeness, add beautiful hints of flavor!
For something fizzy without the added sugar found in soda, try carbonated water with fruit. Fill ice cube trays with water, fruit, and herbs for a quick and refreshing flavor boost. Even easier, use frozen fruit instead of ice. As it defrosts, it adds flavor and color.
3. Include coffee and tea
While it’s true caffeine can have a diuretic effect, recent research found moderate coffee intake can be just as hydrating as water. This is especially true if you are a regular coffee drinker and your body has adjusted to the amount you’re taking in. Everything in moderation!
It’s not recommended to drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day. This is to prevent possible side effects like jitters, headaches, and anxiousness. When waiting for your coffee or tea to brew, have a cup of water first. Limit creamers and sweeteners to support a healthy weight.
Trying to cut back on caffeine? Start with half-decaf and half-caffeinated coffee. Or, try iced herbal teas. If you are very sensitive to caffeine, it’s best to speak with your doctor first or stay away from it until you know how much you can tolerate it.
4. Eat your water
It might sound crazy, but you can also eat your water! Believe it or not, water from food meets about 20% of your water needs. And with the abundance of seasonal summer produce, adding more hydrating foods to your diet should be a breeze!
Produce is jam-packed with water. Watermelon makes for a hydrating snack, grilled summer squash is a quick and easy side dish, and cucumbers make a great addition to a cold summer salad with tomatoes, onions, and beans.
Try cold summer soups like watermelon gazpacho, chilled cucumber, or cold zucchini soup for something light and hydrating.
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese are also high in water. Freeze fruit and yogurt in muffin tins for a creamy homemade popsicle or try cantaloupe and cottage cheese for a snack.
5. Make it a habit
Keep water by your bedside and drink it first thing in the morning before your morning coffee. Every time you brush your teeth, use the restroom or have a snack, treat these instances as cues to drink some water. Try keeping a large water pitcher in your fridge or on your counter every time you enter the kitchen.
Drink water before meals. This may even help with weight control, according to one study. For example, it was found that just a 1% increase in water consumption reduced total daily calorie, fat, and sugar intake.
The more you practice, these tips for staying hydrated will become an automatic habit.
6. Plan ahead
Amongst all the impromptu road trips, vacations, and summer traffic – it’s like you’ll run into a situation without water if you don’t plan ahead.
To be prepared, add water to your packing list and leave extra water bottles in the car. Before you travel, check the availability of refillable water stations and pack reusable bottles to carry with you.
7. Check in with your body
Did you know that once you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated? Other signs of dehydration that are not always apparent include fatigue, dry skin and chapped lips, headaches, muscle cramps, and dizziness. Here are two quick ways to check in with your body to assess your hydration status.
Check your urine. If you’re hydrated, it should look clear or straw-colored. If it’s dark yellow, you’re probably dehydrated.
Pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If it takes more than a second or two to return to its original position, you’re likely dehydrated.
8. Know your fluid needs
Everyone’s fluid needs look different. Your activity, metabolism, climate, alcohol intake, and many other factors influence your fluid needs.
In general, women need about nine cups of fluid per day. Speak to a registered dietitian to determine your personalized fluid goal.
Additionally, limit alcohol to one drink a day. For every alcoholic beverage, have one glass of water to maintain proper hydration (and to feel your best!).
9. Consider an electrolyte drink
If you’re very active or exercising in the heat, plain water may not cut it. In this case, a quality electrolyte drink can provide needed energy plus a boost of nutrients to get you through your workout feeling amazing. I suggest bringing an electrolyte drink on runs, bike rides, or hikes that are longer than 45-60 minutes.
A few of our favorite electrolyte beverages include Gnarly HydrateGnarly Hydrate and Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier. Gnarly may be better if you’re watching your sugar intake and are focused more on replacing the electrolytes through your sweat, while Liquid IV may be preferred if your blood sugar tends to run low or you’re working out at a higher intensity.
Experiment with different products and see which works best for you as far as taste and effectiveness.
10. Refill, refill, refill!
We’ve all been there. You finish your water, time goes by, you reach for it and…empty. You promise yourself you’ll refill, but now you’re deep in a task and you forget.
When you finish your water bottle, immediately fill it back up. If you’re in the middle of a task, set a reminder so you don’t forget to refill ASAP.
It’s best to hydrate regularly throughout the day rather than trying to play catch up at night. Drinking a lot of fluids right before bed may also mean more nighttime waking to urinate. Not fun!
11. Set realistic goals
Starting a new habit like drinking more water takes time, practice, and dedication. Be compassionate towards yourself! If you know you struggle to drink enough water, start small. And don’t forget to reward yourself for meeting your goals!
Put it into action – The Bottom line
Here are a few final tips for staying hydrated:
- Start by picking 1 to 2 of these tips to stay hydrated.
- Remind yourself how good you feel when you’re hydrated. Write this feeling down and use it as a reminder if you’re getting off track. Remember your why and how it can help you lose weight too!
- Choose non-food rewards for meeting your hydration goals. Treat yourself to a spa, pick up the book you’ve been dying to try, or reach out to a friend.
It’s important to remember that while everyone’s exact fluid needs vary, dehydration can affect anyone.
By implementing some of these tips, you can meet your hydration needs. Starting a new habit doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. Trying new flavors, having social support, and rewarding yourself along the way can make a healthy change more fun and meaningful.
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