May. 17. 2017
Nutrition Articles
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder and CEO

Summer is right around the corner, and many of us are already experiencing the heat! During this season, it’s more important than ever to drink more water.

With the hot weather, there are even more catalysts for dehydration so let’s chat H2O. Did you know the body is made up of about 55-60% water? It’s also involved in every process in the human body, which is pretty amazing for something that many of us take for granted!

If you’re not drinking enough water you may not be giving your body enough fuel to combat everyday stresses, fight fatigue, keep your digestion moving, speed up your metabolism, and support supple skin. Water is key to keeping our bodies healthy on a cellular level. It’s especially important to drink enough water during the hot summer months when we’re sweating more than usual, i.e. losing more water through our skin.

I hear from my clients and readers all the time how it can be difficult to get in enough water throughout the day without feeling like they’re constantly chugging water. Finding easy ways to drink more water shouldn’t feel like a chore. In fact, it may be easier to do than you think with these 5 simple tips!

5 Ways to Hydrate Today

First you should determine how much water you should be drinking and whether you need to drink more water.

That depends on many factors, but to get started, aim for 2-3 liters a day (i.e. about 8-12 cups). You’ll need the higher amounts if you exercise and sweat, if you’re active throughout the day, if you’re not eating enough water-containing foods, or if you eat a high fiber diet. Also, pay attention to the color of your urine – ideally it should be pale yellow/clear, and if it’s dark yellow this a good indicator you may need to find some new ways to drink water to increase your fluid intake.

If that’s the case, try these 5 ways to add to your daily intake without constantly chugging water.

1. Infused waters

My favorite of them all, and perhaps the best way to drink more water! If plain water is “boring” to you, or if you prefer to mix it up every now and then, try infused (or flavored) water.

Just like with packaged teas, be mindful of any flavored waters you buy. I recommend staying away from bottled flavored drinks, unless you’re familiar with the ingredients (i.e., no added sugar, syrups, artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or preservatives, etc.). My favorite way to boost flavor in water is with True Citrus’s unsweetened products True Orange®, True Lemon®, True Lime® and True Grapefruit®, because they have only three ingredients that are made with real flavors from real fruit. I’m a bit partial to the True Lime, since I love adding mint to infuse my water as well!

These True Citrus mixes are great for when you are on the go and want to add a little kick to your water—it’s just like squeezing a wedge of citrus for a bright burst of flavor. Check out their four unsweetened flavors and their sweetened True Lemon Lemonades and True Lime Limeades here. They’re a measly 10 calories, sweetened with Stevia and a touch of sugar, and made with only simple ingredients. I highly recommend this new healthy find!

2. Hot tea (or iced!)

You don’t have to only drink plain water for it to count towards your water intake. Try starting your day with a hot tea instead of coffee or cool down with an iced tea like the NS favorite Turmeric Tea. Just be mindful of bottled teas, as many of them are filled with sugar and artificial preservatives, so brewing your own is always best! Bonus idea – add True Lemon to your tea, it’s really good!

 

3. DIY water tracker

Measure your water as you go so you know how much more you may need. You can use your favorite water bottle to track how much you’ve had by noting the measurements. Some water bottles have them on the side, or you can even find water bottles with hourly reminders to help you stay on track.

Alternatively, you can use the rubber band trick! Most water bottles are about 20 ounces, so keep that in mind, but use 4 rubber bands to represent about 8 cups of water, with each rubber band representing about 2 cups. Take off 1 rubber band for each bottle of water you drink (i.e. 2 cups of water) and use that as a DIY water intake tracker!

4. Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to add extra water into your day. Instead of using a nut milk for your liquid, use filtered water or coconut water. Use the same amount that you would use if you were adding a nut milk or milk alternative. If you’re missing the creaminess of the smoothie, you can always add an avocado, nut butter, or frozen banana or zucchini to thicken up your smoothie. Also remember, using raw whole foods like greens and fruit not only contain fiber, but they also contain water!

5. Set a timer throughout the day for water breaks

It’s so easy to get caught up in work and realize: “I need to drink more water!” If you’re more of a regimented person or just need a reminder, add timers or alarms to your device to remind you to drink water.

The best way to consume water is evenly throughout the day, so chugging a huge glass in the morning isn’t going to help you in the afternoon. Your body’s already gotten rid of it by then! Use tools like a journal or set alarms to help you remember to drink throughout the day. And if you feel your water needs a pick me up, you can always add some True Lemon products for added flavor.

True Lime Black Cherry Limeade with mint pictured!

Wonderful Water

In case you still aren’t sure why you should be drinking so much water, listen to this. In the human body, water has a role in metabolism, cellular membrane function, regulating our body temperature (sweating is a great example), aiding in digestion to break down foods, delivering oxygen throughout your entire working body, aiding digestion from saliva production (which also houses digestive enzymes), lubricating joints, flushing unwanted toxins from the body (mostly in urine and bowel movements), helping our beautiful brains create hormones and neurotransmitters, keeping our mucosal membranes moist (think of your lung and digestive tissues), transporting nutrients from our foods (especially water soluble vitamins), and keeping our cells rejuvenated, reproducing, and surviving. WOOF that’s a ton of bodily processes that rely on water! We literally can not live without water.

How Do You Apply This In Real Life?

If you’re looking for more support and ways to stay hydrated, then check out our best-selling Online Education Programs. We offer programs to give you the tools you need for meal planning, learning how to stock your kitchen, give your body a reset with whole foods, and more. Click here to explore what programs are right for you. Or if you’re ready to get started now with making Healthy Eating Simple, then taking our free 4-part series, click here to join!

This post was sponsored by True Citrus, a crystallized citrus brand and company I truly enjoy. I only partner with brands who I use, feel good about sharing with you guys in hopes that you can integrate it in your whole food lifestyle as well. Thanks for supporting brands that support Nutrition Stripped!

Photos by Kelsey Cherry