Hydration is important all year round, but especially during the summer months when the temperature is high and you’re sweating more than usual. If you’re out and about in the hot, humid weather you’re likely prepared with a bottle of water, but it’s just as important when you’re sitting in an air-conditioned office building too.
By the time you feel thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated, so it’s key to drink fluids throughout the day. Before you reach for just any beverage, find out the best ways to stay hydrated without breaking your calorie bank for the day.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If you don’t keep a hydrating beverage in front of you, the chances of taking in enough fluids throughout the day are slim. Whether you’re sitting at a desk, running errands, or driving your kids to camp, always have a drink on hand. A bottle of water, a cup of tea (hot or cold), or a diet soda will all work to support your hydration needs. And don’t dismiss those caffeinated drinks – they’re just as hydrating.
Flavor It Up
Water is the best choice for a calorie-free drink, but not everyone can guzzle enough plain H2O to meet hydration needs for the day. Infuse your water with fresh fruit and vegetables to add flavor without calories. Try sliced oranges, lemons or cucumbers, whole berries, or fresh mint.
Quench Your Thirst with Hydrating Foods
We often mistake hunger for thirst, but you can satisfy both needs with water-rich summer produce. Watermelon, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, summer squash, berries, peaches and nectarines are just some of the many fruits and vegetables with high water content available during the summer months. Serve them in salads, cold gazpacho soups, or use them to make low-cal flavored drinks like these Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet or Summer Slushie.
Sip on Your Summer Favorites
Lemonade and iced tea are two of the most popular summer drinks, but the calories can add up from all the sugar. Don’t fret – order an unsweetened iced tea and add your own packet of sweetener or make a pitcher of your fave drink at home. Some recipes to try: Iced Tea and Light Lemonade.
Indulge in Frozen Treats
Ice cream and ice pops are staples during the summer and they sure are refreshing and hydrating. Calories from full-fat ice cream and sugary popsicles can add up, so look for slow-churned or low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, and popsicles made with sugar substitutes. Besides hydration, you’ll also get some added nutrition from calcium in ice cream and yogurt-based frozen desserts like these sucralose-sweetened Frozen Strawberry Yogurt Pops.
Have a happy, healthy, and hydrated summer!
Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and culinary nutrition expert. She has extensive experience as a recipe developer, writer, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities (Barron’s, 2011), past columnist for the Culinary Corner column in Today’s Dietitian Magazine, and maintains a popular blog at JessicaLevinson.com. Jessica is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and various Dietetic Practice Groups of the AND, including Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Food and Culinary Professionals, and Dietitians in Business and Communications. Follow her out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.