Woo Hoo! It’s finally summer! Doesn’t it seem like winter dragged on and on this year? Maybe it is just me, but I’m so happy for these last few hot and humid days! But it also means I have to work a little harder to stay hydrated.
I don’t know about you, but I really notice if I don’t drink enough water throughout the day as I get older. I find that I’m tired and really drag a bit in the afternoon and don’t sleep well at night. And this time of year, I really notice it if I don’t get enough in.
Why Is It Important to Stay Hydrated?
When it is hot out it is even more important to stay hydrated. You can become dehydrated before you realize it. As a matter of fact, if you are feeling thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated and “behind the 8 ball”, so to speak.
Keeping up with your fluid intake, especially during the hot summer months is super important.
Why? Our bodies are made up primarily of water. Water helps keep our joints lubricated, our blood flowing, helps food move through our digestive tract, keeps our kidneys in good health by getting rid of waste products, and most importantly, cools us off!
What happens if you don’t get enough water?
- You can feel tired and sluggish
- Hunger pangs! Yes, feelings of hunger may really mean you are thirsty!
- You may not sleep well
- Some people have headaches
- Your skin may be dry and rough
- You may experience constipation
- Some people notice short attention span and alertness and in some people feelings of negative emotions
- You may be at a higher risk for developing kidney stones
How Much Fluid Do You Need To Drink to Stay Hydrated?
The old rule of thumb – you need 8 glasses of water a day – is an easy-to-remember goal, but a bit of a myth. How much you need is very much dependent on you. Every person is different but the daily recommendations are between 11-½ to 15 ½ cups of fluid sipped throughout the day. 
Yes, that seems like a ton of fluid but keep in mind “fluid” includes water and other sources, including food.
What else “counts” as fluid? Many foods contain a lot of water. Fruits and vegetables like watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and grapes all have a high concentration of water so including those in your meals will also help contribute to your fluid intake.
How do you know when you’re hydrated enough? When your urine is pale like lemonade, not dark like apple juice.
Is Plain Water the Only Option to Stay Hydrated?
The quick answer is no – other types of liquids including seltzer water, tea, coffee, juice and milk, and even foods, as I mentioned above, can help with hydration. With that said, you do need some just plain water every day. Now, that doesn’t mean you can flavor it or dress it up a bit!
Some people do find it hard to just drink plain water. Water from the tap could have different flavors depending on where you live. Tap water picks up different minerals from the soil as it makes its way to your house. Those minerals, like calcium and magnesium, and even sodium are natural and needed by your body but they can affect the way water running from the tap tastes. Purified water removes those minerals and ends up tasting bland, or even just tasteless.
My favorite way to dress up plain water is to add ice cubes that have fruit in them. I’ll make cubes up with a slice of lime and a piece of mint or a strawberry and a slice of lemon. As they melt, the flavors infuse into the water and it just makes it so much easier to drink – and how pretty is this?
You can add lemon, limes, herbs like mint or lavender, fruit – berries or small pieces of mango, peaches, or pineapple are all delicious and make for a really pretty glass of water. I’ll freeze these in ice cube trays, pop them out into a freezer bag and then grab a couple every afternoon. It is a great way to use up leftover fruit too!
What about sports drinks?
When are sports drinks really necessary? Sports drinks are great for people who do heavy exercise for more than an hour. These drinks provide fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes that you lose during prolonged, heavy exercise, but there is more to it than that.
If you are planning a long bike ride, basketball game, tennis match or even a long walk during hot weather, make sure you are well hydrated before heading out. Drink 16 oz of water 2 hours before you head out so you are starting out ahead of the game. Then, take a water bottle with you and drink 4 – 6 oz of water every 15 minutes while you are out. When you finish up, plan on getting in another 16 -20 oz.
Show me the fun summer drinks
Now, other than flavored ice cubes, are there other fun things you can drink? Oh, why yes! And here are a few of my favorites.
Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie
This quick smoothie is the perfect summer breakfast. You can whip it up before heading out the door to work and sip on it on your way in.
It’s light but filling and the chia seeds add some nice texture and help to thicken it a bit. You get water from the watermelon and strawberries (along with some vitamin c and antioxidants!), protein and calcium from the yogurt, and a little fiber, protein, and some heart-healthy omega-3s from the chia seeds. Besides all that, it’s a yummy and nutritious way to start the day!
1 cup cubed watermelon
½ cup frozen strawberries
1, 5.3 oz. carton non-fat plain yogurt
1 -2 tsp. chia seeds
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and whip until completely combined. Let sit for 5 minutes for the chia seeds to start to hydrate.
Calories: 190 Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 26g Fiber: 5g Total Sugars: 18g Protein: 18g Potassium: 530mg (10%) Calcium: 230mg (20%)
Watermelon Lime Spritzer
Next, this Watermelon Lime Spritzer is my favorite drink on a hot afternoon! Pureed watermelon, Strawberry Simple Syrup with lime juice, and topped with a little seltzer water is all it takes. Garnish it with some extra strawberries to get a little extra fruit in.
½ cup pureed watermelon
½ Tbsp. lime juice
½ Tbsp strawberry simple syrup
Place watermelon puree, lime juice, and simple syrup in a glass and mix. Add ice and top with seltzer water. Add a sprig of mint or slice strawberry to garnish!
Calories: 70 Fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 1 g Sugars: 16 g (6g added) Protein: 1 g Potassium: 185mg (4%) Note: You can decrease the sugar by eliminating the simple syrup. The flavor will change slightly and it won’t be as sweet but will still be refreshing.
Peach Ginger Mocktail Spritzer
And, for cocktail time – if you want to forgo the alcohol, this peach ginger spritzer with a peach slice for a garnish and sprig of mint is the way to go – you won’t miss the alcohol and your friends will be asking for the recipe as soon as they take a sip!
1 cup diced peaches
1 Tbsp. ginger simple syrup (see below)
Place peaches in a food processor and blend until well chopped. Stop and push down from the sides and start processor. While running, add ginger simple syrup through the feed tube and blend until pureed.
Place ice in a glass. Add 2 Tbsp of the peach ginger puree. Top with sparkling water.
Makes 8 mocktails
Calories: 25 Fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 7g Fiber: 1g Total Sugars: 6g Protein: 0g Potassium: 80mg (2%) Vitamin C 2.5mg (4%)
Ginger Simple Syrup
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 inch of fresh ginger cut in small pieces.
Place water, sugar, and ginger in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Pull off heat and allow to cool. Store it in the refrigerator.
So, whether you are exercising more, or just finding that you are thirsty on these hot days, having a routine for drinking fluids will help you stay hydrated all summer long. Keep a glass of water beside you and sip on it throughout the day. Add flavors you love if you don’t like plain water and mix it up with some fun drinks like these. You’ll have more energy to do all those fun summer activities too!
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