watermelon-mint-lemonade-with-a-twist-250x155By Natalie Monson, RD

We all know summer time is hot, especially for those who live in southern or desert climates. It’s important to stay hydrated while the temperatures are warm, and luckily there are some healthy ways to enjoy summer and stay hydrated at the same time. Here are some great ideas to keep your summer healthy and hydrated, all while keeping it easy!But first let’s talk about what our bodies really need to stay hydrated.The following recommendations include the total amount of water we get from all beverages and foods.  Generally, most people get 80% of their fluids from beverages and 20% from foods they eat.

  • Toddlers need around 5 1/2 cups of fluid daily
  • Children up to 8 need around 7 cups
  • Pre-teens need about 9 cups
  • Teen boys need around 11 cups
  • Teen girls need almost 10 cups
  • Adults need around 11 cups

So choosing foods that are high in water content can help us stay hydrated while we’re still working to consume enough fluid through beverages.

Focusing on low-calorie beverages, mostly water, is the best way to stay healthy and hydrated. Calcium-rich beverages, such as milk, are also good choices. Stay away from sugary drinks, including soda and fruit flavored beverages.  Drinks containing 100% juice have a place, but focusing on whole fruits and vegetables is best.

Now that the recommendations are out of the way, lets talk healthy, hydrating foods!   First up, fruits and veggies! Increasing your hydration can be as easy as choosing more fruits and vegetables.

Did you know that many fruits and vegetables are 80% to over 90% water? Here are a few common fruits and vegetables and their water content:

Item Percent Water Item Percent Water
Apple 84 Broccoli 91
Banana 74 Cabbage (green) 93
Blueberries 85 Carrots 87
Cantaloupe 90 Celery 95
Grapes 81 Cucumber 96
Peach 88 Lettuce (iceburg) 96
Pear 84 Peppers (sweet) 92
Pinapple 87 Spinach 92
Strawberries 92 Zucchini 95
Watermelon 92 Tomato 94

(Information taken from Bowes & Church’s Food Values, 1994)

It’s easy to see that even our most common fruits and vegetables pack a hydrating punch. So filling our plates with these nutritious choices not only adds essential vitamins and minerals, but also hydrates us at the same time.  For easy snacks, wash and pre-portion individual servings. Keep them within easy reach for quick, healthy snacks. We like to keep things in our fridge that makes those fruits and veggies super easy to grab and go.

And what about adding some of these fruits and vegetables to water for a yummy fruit-infused water. The combinations are endless! Here are a few tasty combos:

  • Cucumber, lemon, and mint
  • Strawberries and blueberries
  • Oranges and blueberries
  • Strawberries, lemons, and blueberries
  • Cucumbers, strawberries, and kiwi

Just add water and give them some time to get cold and let the flavors combine. This is a great way to add a little excitement to plain water! It’s easy to get stay hydrated when it tastes this good!

A few other great ideas for easy, healthy, hydrating foods for summer include:

  • Cold soups: many feature vegetables as the base and are high in water content. These are a perfect solution for a hot summer day!
  • Fruit popsicles: there are plenty of no-sugar added popsicles on the market these days. Or try making your own! Kids love to get creative with their ingredient combinations and enjoy eating their healthy creations.
  • Sensational salads: Combine just about any fresh fruits and veggies together and you can make an appetizing, interesting side dish.  Use some of the higher water-content fruits and veggies to pack in even more hydration.

There are lots of healthy, easy ways to stay hydrated this summer!  Find the ones that work best for your family and enjoy!

Read full article at the source About.com