It's really easy to get dehydrated — not to mention sunburned — come summertime. "Staying hydrated in the heat can be more challenging than in cooler temperatures because we lose a significant amount of fluid through our skin in the form of sweat," says Jonah Soolman, R.D., a nutritionist and certified trainer at Soolman Nutrition and Wellness in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Since we need to replace the fluid lost in that sweat, our hydration needs tend to be higher than when the temperature is cooler.
Hydration is important for several reasons, including body-temperature stability, bowel regularity, reduced kidney stone risk and filtering waste products. Here's how to keep yourself drinking up.
1. Invest in a new water bottle. In the same way that a new workout outfit can help motivate you to go to the gym more often, refillable water bottles are gorgeous these days, with all the bells and whistles you could ask for in terms of color, design and features. Get one, and then bring it everywhere.
2. Drink better-tasting water. If you don't like the flavor of the tap water where you live, consider investing in a water purifier. You can also make your own flavored waters by adding lemon slices, strawberries, cucumber slices or mint to your glass. Better yet, add it to a whole pitcher and keep it in the fridge, ready to drink.
3. Get some water through food. Consider packing watermelon, stone fruits and cucumbers, all of which boast a high water content, when you head to the beach. Cherry and grape tomatoes are easy to pack, and they pack in the hydration too.
4. Keep an eye on what goes out. If you're urinating every hour or two and the urine is a light lemonade color, you're likely taking in sufficient fluid. If the color is darker and/or you're going to the bathroom less frequently, you probably need to drink up.
5. Consider seltzer. Yes, seltzer is hydrating. You probably don't want to drink a ton of it for the sake of your teeth, but a glass a day is no problem and counts toward your overall hydration. You can add a splash of bitters, such as peach bitters, or some Luxardo cherry juice, to make it more of a mocktail. Put it in a pretty glass, and you won't miss the booze.
6. Choose plain coconut water. Packed with electrolytes, coconut water can be incredibly refreshing on hot days. One important caveat: You should stick to plain coconut water, which doesn't contain added sugar, and don't substitute it wholesale for water. (Unlike water, it contains calories!)
7. Watch out for coffee and booze. Coffee and alcohol are diuretics. Iced coffee is not the same as water. Rose all day is not going to hydrate you. Resist the impulse to drink only alcohol during hot days, and make sure to get some water in there.
8. Reach for water first. You walk into the barbecue/picnic/party and everyone's there. The punch might look fabulous, but consider having your first drink of something be a glass of water. If you're hot, you're likely to chug whatever is handed to you. Might as well get those 8 to 16 ounces out of the way first and feel its hydrating effects before indulging in an alcoholic drink.