McKel (Hill) Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel (Hill) Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder

We all know we need to drink more water, but can we actually make hydration, fun? Yes, yes we can!

You can always resort to drinking plain water, but there’s a lot you can do to stay hydrated that’s enjoyable and integrates into your life! Try these four creative ways to stay hydrated from getting your water from vegetables, smoothies, and a trick I use with clients.

Staying hydrated is incredibly important and plays role in metabolism, cellular membrane function, regulating our body temperature (sweating is a great example), aiding in digestion to breakdown foods, helps deliver oxygen throughout your entire working body, aids in digestion from saliva production (which also houses digestive enzymes), lubricates joints, flushes unwanted toxins from the body (mostly in urine and bowel movements), helps our beautiful brains create hormones and neurotransmitters, keeps our mucosal membranes moist (think of your lung and digestive tissues), transports nutrients from our foods (especially water soluble vitamins), and keeps our cells rejuvenated, reproducing, and surviving. Now that you know why staying hydrated is so important to your health, now let’s look at why and how we actually do this in a way that’s sustainable.

When I start nutrition coaching with a client, we typically go over their entire day including activities, stressors, the food they eat, and what they drink amongst other check-ins. One trick (I suppose not so secret anymore) is to work by dividing a persons day into segments based on their lifestyle and that’s where we make real change happen. You can do this too! As you’re reading these ways to stay hydrated, keep in mind how you can get creative with your schedule and timing to squeeze in more hydration.

1. First thing in the morning

Sleeping can be dehydrating, so hydrating first thing in the morning is key. Try adding lemon, fresh minced ginger, lime, mint or try any of the variations of Simply Infused Waters. I recommend drinking something warm or hot in the morning to stimulate digestion and bowel movements (hello, happy belly) followed by drinking more water or tea.

Try these recipes in the morning: Matcha Latte, Turmeric Milk, Turmeric Latte, Zinger Tea (time hack: use Traditional Medicinals Everyday Detox tea), or Simply Infused Waters (made hot)

2. After breakfast/before lunch time

Think of the space in between meals as being your “hydration times”, this is how my clients learn how to stay hydrated throughout the day versus just hydrating well in the morning but not keeping up with it all day long which inevitably doesn’t help us reach the goal! From kombucha, sparkling water, tea, water with lemon, to chia seed water — the key is to make it feel a little special so it gives you extra motivation to stay hydrated after lunchtime when most people typically hit a 3:00 pm energy crash. Sometimes that energy crash can come from eating too many processed sugars or even whole food carbohydrates at lunch with too little protein or healthy fats, it could be stress related, emotionally related, or it could just mean you’re slightly dehydrated.

3. After lunch/before dinner

For most of us, this time period after lunch and before dinner usually means you’re about to leave the office to go home or you’re at least wrapping up your workday — not everyone has a 9-5 but here’s an example of how you can use hydration as a way to start a routine that signals to yourself, work is done for the day. Again, I’m a big fan of routines since they help hardwire our brain to these routines, which affects our behavior and ultimately how we feel. So why not make a special drink — sparkling water with lemon, kombucha, matcha latte, etc. to behaviorally start the process of shutting down work for the day and start unwinding.

4. In the evening

I love drinking tea throughout the day, but especially at night. We know there’s something comforting about rituals and routines that help us maintain our healthy habits, and even the simple act of making tea can help trigger relaxation if we establish this as part of our evening routine. From turning the kettle on, putting a tea bag in the mug, pouring the hot water, adding lemon, and putting it on a tableside, it’s one of my favorite routines and I’ve turned a lot of my clients onto this evening ritual too! Not all tea is the same, look for herbal teas that don’t contain caffeine; my favorites are Traditional Medicinal’s Cup of Calm, Nighty Night Valerian, Hibiscus, and Peppermint. Another tip, if you’re not in the mood for hot tea (hello, Nashville summers) try a tea mocktail made by brewing Hibiscus tea, then adding ice cubes to chill, add sparkling water, fresh sliced strawberries and a little mint and you have a fancy mocktail that tastes delicious and keeps you hydrated.

This post was in partnership with Traditional Medicinals — we only partner with brands that are NS approved and all our opinions are authentic and remain our own.

What are some of your creative tips and ways you stay hydrated? Comment below so you can share what’s worked for you in hopes that it helps someone in our community! If you make any of these ideas come to life, snap a picture and show me on Instagram.

xx McKel