Summer is on! Which means: longer days, warmer nights and ... dehydrated bodies. Feeling thirsty? You might think that a few sips of water will do the trick, or assume that your body is on the verge of becoming dehydrated. Actually, being thirsty means your body’s asking to be rehydrated ASAP because it's already very dehydrated.
And while the quickest solution might be to chug a lot of water, that’s not always the best or most convenient solution (unless you enjoy hanging out by a bathroom all day long). So how about eating your way to hydration instead?
Try these 10 fun tips to eat your water to save yourself from chugging it:
1. Keep them raw.
Raw fruits and veggies, in general, are loaded with water. This is good news because in the summer, our bodies naturally crave raw foods. Enjoy produce as raw as possible throughout the summer and you’ll be hydrating like crazy.
Need another incentive? The water in fruits and veggies is where most of its nutrients lie, so eating them raw means you’re getting the best nutritional bang for your buck.
Trick: grab, wash and snack on raw fruits and veggies all day, every day. Your best bets? Berries (87% to 92% water), baby carrots (87% water), peppers (92% water), and celery (95% water).
2. Eat plenty of cucumbers (and juice them too).
Having a 95% water content makes a glass of cucumber juice just about as hydrating as a glass of, well, water. Cucumbers are affordable, easy to find and versatile, making them a perfect summer hydration plant-food.
Trick: You can slice them onto sandwiches, chop them into salads, or infuse them into water. A special way to enjoy them, though? Juiced! Simply juice one cucumber (peeled, if it’s not organic). For a special sweet treat, add a few slices of watermelon to your juicer and celebrate a perfect plant-based hydration marriage in your glass.
3. Blend watermelon.
Named after its amazing abundance of water, watermelon is plant-based hydration perfection hidden in a big green ball. How do you know if you’ve grabbed a winning watermelon? Find one that feels heavy for its size and makes a hollow sound when you tap it.
Trick: toss some in your blender (with seeds but without rind) to enjoy a decadent glass of pink, sweet plant-based hydration.
4. Soak chia seeds.
Did you know that soaking those adorable little seeds causes them to expand to 10 times their original size? How? Because when chia seeds get soaked, they drink 10 times their weight in water, making them hydration superstars. The key here is to soak chia seeds BEFORE consuming them, to prevent them from absorbing YOUR water, which would do the opposite of hydrate you.
Trick: make chia gel! Mix three tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of water and let it chill in your fridge. When making a smoothie, add one-to-two tablespoons of this gel to really up the hydration factor. OR, make a chia pudding. Mix three tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of almond milk and add a splash of sweetener. Let that chill in your fridge for 20 minutes. Enjoy topped with fruit for a healthy, hydrating snack or dessert.
5. Freeze bananas.
Aside from being delicious, bananas are full of potassium, which replenishes lost electrolytes from sweating in the heat of the summer. Bananas also contain magnesium, which helps balance and regulate the fluids in your body. Their sugars provide instant energy, making them an awesome treat when the heat’s draining you.
Trick: make banana ice cream! Peel a ripe banana and cut it into two-inch slices. Freeze them for at least five hours. Pulse those frozen slices in a high-speed blender or food processor 15 times, scraping down the sides as necessary. Then, blend until the banana has reached a soft-serve ice cream texture, adding a few teaspoons of water if desired.
6. Squeeze lemons.
You’ve surely heard of the numerous health benefits of warm lemon water, but in the summer heat, drinking warm water doesn’t sound all that appealing. So drink cool lemon water in the summer. It’s OK. The super hydrating benefits of vitamin C from the lemon still exist in cool lemon water.
Trick: try squeezing a ratio of 1/2 a lemon, juiced into one cup of cool water and enjoy throughout the day. (Cool is better than iced, since iced will hinder digestion.)
7. Make coconut water ice cubes.
Coconut water (or nature’s sports drink) boasts four times the amount of potassium as a banana plus B-vitamins, electrolytes and magnesium to boot. It’s very low in calories and sugar, which is deceptive because it tastes so sweet and luxurious! Enjoying coconut water is a phenomenal way to stay hydrated (or to get rehydrated).
Trick: make coconut water ice cubes! Simply pour coconut water into your ice trays and freeze them so you can pop them into a smoothie, cocktail or glass of regular water to add hydration without losing flavor.
8. Munch on melon.
Cantaloupe has a water content of over 90%, which explains why a perfect bite practically floods your mouth with watery, creamy, sweet goodness. Cut up cantaloupe makes a wonderfully hydrating snack, breakfast or midnight treat.
Trick: try sprinkling some lime juice and freshly chopped mint leaves on top of cantaloupe to mix things up.
9. Chop up cauliflower.
An unsung hydrating hero, cauliflower is actually made up of 92% water. It’s great eaten completely raw.
Trick: Make raw cauliflower couscous! Pulse raw cauliflower in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of dry rice. Mix with nuts, herbs and spices to make a delicious couscous, or sprinkle on a salad for a crunchy, crouton effect.
10. Sneak in spinach.
While iceberg lettuce might be a more watery green, spinach is close enough and packs a more nutritious punch. Made up of 92% water, spinach is very helpful in keeping you hydrated.
Trick: sneak spinach in wherever you can. Throw a handful in a smoothie or a juice, layer it into a wrap or sandwich, chop it into a homemade pesto or hummus, add it to your pizza, or even puree a cup into your wet ingredients when baking muffins, banana bread or pancakes.