Lauren Egger is a busy mom of five, a former RN and founder of the Healthy Mom Project.
With summer’s increased temperature and outdoor activities, comes increased water loss through sweating and evaporation as your body tries to stay cool. Here are some tips to stay hydrated throughout the summer.
Water is essential for life. If we are not intentional about how much we (and our kids) drink we might not be getting enough. Believe it or not, our bodies are made up of roughly 60% water, and our brain is 73% water. Kids are even higher at around 65%. This means kids are at a greater risk for developing dehydration. On hot summer days at the pool, beach, parties, etc. it is recommended to drink over and above the thirst threshold. (Even if kids tell you they are not thirsty, you can say, “You can go back in the pool after you drink this cup of water.) Kids do not recognize the need to drink plenty of water or the signs of dehydration: headache, fatigue, dizzy, low urine output, amber-colored urine and dry mouth. If you’re out and about and your child tells you they have a headache, the first thing you should think is, “You need fluids!” Even slight dehydration can lead to poor cognition. It’s important to remember this when the school year starts!
We were recently in Florida for a family vacation. It was a cloudy day (no sun ALL day). The family next to us was in the water all day just like us. The 10 year old became ill out of nowhere. It turned out he was dehydrated. We think because it’s cloudy out, it’s not that crucial to drink fluids. Wrong. Cloudy days are deceiving. We still need lots of fluids! The parents felt AWFUL. It happens so quickly. (The boy had lots of fluids and rest after this incident.)
Top Tips for Hydrating
- Purchase a reusable water bottle. You are going to be more likely to drink more water if you have a reusable water bottle ready to go at all times. Invest in a large one so you don’t have to refill it as frequently. Verify that it is BPA free, or better yet, buy a stainless steel or glass bottle (with a cover over it). Be mindful of keeping this water bottle with you at all times. This means in the car too! We parents spend so much time in the car; it’s a great time to make sure you’re getting your hydration on!
- Add fruit. Infusing your water with fruit will make it much more fun and tasty than plain ol’ water. Get creative by tossing in lemons, watermelon, limes, oranges, berries or fresh mint. Although you can find flavored water at the stores, many times there are hidden preservatives and artificial flavors. It’s best to just stick to real, whole foods and make it yourself.
- Make sure you are drinking enough water. Recommendations are going to vary based on your age, weight and activity level. However, a simple method is to divide your weight in half and drink that amount of water in ounces. For example, a 120 lb. person would need to drink 60 ounces (close to 8 cups per day).
- Buy stainless steel straws with silicone tips. This is especially great for kids. I’m not sure why, but our kids love to drink with these types of straws. Sometimes it’s the small things that help us get through parenting!
- Drink two cups of water as soon as you wake. When you wake up, you have not eaten or drank anything in about 6-8 hours. You start off the day needing water! I love to drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning. There are so many benefits to doing this including improved digestion, increased metabolism, good source of vitamin C and electrolytes, detoxifies your liver, and more! Squeeze a quarter to a half of a lemon into a warm cup of water and enjoy! You can also find organic lemon juice at Heinen’s that’s ready to go so you can skip this step. Or you can fill an ice cube tray with fresh squeezed lemons, freeze it, and pop one out into warm water when ready to use.
- Eat your water. Say what? All whole fruits and vegetables contain water! The top picks containing the most water are cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, watermelon and strawberries. Purchase a container with multiple sections and toss in fruits and veggies. This is perfect for going to the pool, beach, park or any outdoor activity.
- Remind your kids to drink water. Kids are SO busy playing and are not going to intentionally drink water like adults. Encourage them to drink water throughout the day. Have a place in the kitchen where their cup is always filled and easily accessible for them to reach.
- Electrolyte drinks. Sometimes electrolyte drinks need to come into play! We like NOOMA, Body Armour and organic coconut water. We prefer these electrolyte drinks since they omit food dyes, artificial flavors and high-fructose corn syrup.
- Popsicles are a great way to get in more fluids. The kids enjoy “Froozers” (in the freezer section next to the ice cream at Heinen’s.) When I’m on top of my “mom game” we make homemade popsicles. This is super easy and fun to do with the kids!
- Fermented Foods. Eating and drinking foods that are fermented like kombucha, kefir and Cleveland Kraut will increase the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome. This helps absorb nutrients and electrolytes. Bone broth is a great way to get more minerals in and to promote better digestion as well.
Water is the elixir to life! Drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Your body (and mind) will thank you!