From the Dietitian’s Desk
With Becca Rick, MS, RD
With warmer temperatures, extended daylight hours, and outdoor activity in full swing, practicing healthy hydration is important to keep having fun under the sun. Let’s explore how to play it safe this summer by cultivating helpful hydration habits.
Take Water “On the Go”
- Invest in a reusable water bottle, keep it cold in the fridge, and grab it each time you leave the house.
- Consider storing an “emergency” case of water in your vehicle.
Track Daily Hydration
- Put the extra features of a fitness app or tracker to use. Garmin, Fitbit, and other devices have built-in hydration trackers either on their corresponding apps or directly on the device itself.
- Don’t have a fitness tracker? Simply download an app like Drink Water Reminder or Water Reminder – Daily Tracker, which remind you to drink water throughout the day.
Reduce Soda and Alcohol Intake
- Though alcohol and soda can be consumed in moderation, remember water is the best way to stay hydrated.
- Alcohol is a dehydrating agent, as it prevents the body from reabsorbing water in the kidneys.
- Soda adds sugar, sodium, and calories to the diet. Instead, opt for water to quench thirst. Long for carbonation? Try a fizzy water!
Drink Enough to Prevent Thirst
- Unsure of how much water is necessary? The Dietary Reference Intake set by the Institute of Medicine suggests 2.7 liters per day for women and 3.7 liters per day for men.
- Another way to calculate individual water needs is based off the number of calories consumed: 1 ounce of water for every 30 calories. With this calculation, a typical 2,000 calorie diet would require just over 8 cups.
- These are great baselines to start with but remember water needs vary significantly with physical activity and exposure to hot/humid climates. Listen to your thirst and make sure your urine stays clear to pale yellow in color.
Carry Healthful Snacks
- When engaging in strenuous activities, particularly in hot and humid climates, replace electrolytes along with fluids. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and other key nutrients are important to keep the body in balance.
- With activities of greater duration (long runs, bike rides, hiking, or kayaking trips) always bring plenty of snacks to provide your body with the calories and carbohydrates it needs to keep moving. Additionally, these can be great sources of potassium and sodium to support your electrolyte balance.
- Healthful snack ideas: nuts, energy bites, turkey jerky, cheese sticks, unsweetened dried fruit, dried veggies, whole fruits (apples and oranges), and chopped veggies (carrots, bell peppers, celery, and jicama sticks).