As the temperatures rise this summer, we all look forward to enjoying more time outdoors in the sunshine. Whether you and your kids are going for a hike, swimming at the beach, playing games at camp, or just soaking in the warm weather, it’s essential to stay hydrated in order to feel our best. Our bodies are between 70-80% water! We need to maintain these levels throughout the day, especially when we lose water through sweating from heat or exercise. Keeping your body hydrated makes it easier for your heart to do its job, your muscles will work more efficiently, and you’ll avoid the lousy headaches or midday fatigue that come with dehydration.
Remember: by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!
So what’s the best drink to stay hydrated all-day long? Water is always the #1 choice for hydration. It’s easy to replace water you lose through sweat by simply drinking water. You can also stay hydrated through fruits and vegetables like grapes, melons, apples, cucumbers, lettuces, and zucchinis, which naturally contain a high percentage of water. These foods are also the best option to replace minerals lost when you’re dehydrated!
Most people don’t need sports drinks! Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade contain sugar, minerals, and electrolytes. They are recommended only when you are doing intense, sustained physical activity for at least an hour or more. Most people—especially kids!—don’t reach the level of activity that would require a sports drink. Avoid drinking sports drinks when you are doing routine physical activity or to satisfy your thirst. The extra sugar may also add to tooth decay.
Ditch the energy drinks! While energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull are never recommended for children and adolescents due to high levels of caffeine and sugar, they are also very dehydrating for adults. These drinks contain lots of sugar, which can be hard on your stomach, and a lot of caffeine, which causes you to lose more water fluids. Energy drinks can also cause increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. The healthiest option for staying hydrated and alert is to drink water throughout the day and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables!
To encourage healthy water consumption all summer long, check out these hydration tips, and incorporate some or all into your daily routine!
Start each day with a glass of water.
Both you and your kids should strive to have a glass before any coffee, tea, milk, or juice. It will help replace fluids lost over night and get your daily hydration efforts off to a good start. You can add oranges, lemons, cucumbers, or apples to make water more exciting and enticing first thing in the morning!
Eat fruits and veggies with every meal.
Many fruits and veggies are full of water, and all include the minerals that help your body absorb and use water properly. Most processed foods (including sugars, flours and salty snacks) can deplete your body’s water levels, meaning you’ll need even more water to stay hydrated!
Encourage regular water breaks.
Always carry a water bottle with you and drink it throughout the day. Giving kids a special water bottle that they can decorate with stickers or puffy paint will encourage them to take water breaks, too!
Try sparkling or infused water instead of juice and sports drinks.
The sugar in fruit juice and sports drinks can be more dehydrating, cause an upset stomach, and can add to weight gain. But you can still make water a fun and delicious choice by serving it sparkling, and/or infusing it with frozen berries, chopped-up fruits/veggies, and/or herbs. Have your kids come up with fun combinations, starting with the ideas below!