Tip: Stay hydrated throughout the hot summer months with delicious beverages that are lower in sugar and leave you refreshed and feeling your best.
By the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group
Nothing is more refreshing than a cold drink on a hot summer day. Whether you are exercising, playing with the kids or lounging in the sun, staying hydrated requires extra effort during the long days of summer. Keeping well hydrated energizes you, helps you think clearly and avoid headaches, and helps your muscles and cardiovascular system work efficiently. Many typical summer beverages are high in sugar, which puts you on an energy rollercoaster and may even make you thirstier. Make better beverage choices that are delicious, hydrating, and leave you feeling your best!
The Importance of Hydration
Comprising around 60 percent of your body weight, water is essential to life and proper functioning of your body. You are constantly losing water through your skin, breathing and waste. During the heat of summer, you lose even more water through increased perspiration. Dehydration leads to headaches, fatigue, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Studies show that even mild dehydration diminishes mental performance.
How Much is Enough?
While we are all individuals with different needs, a general guideline for water intake is to take your weight in pounds, divide by 2 and drink that number in ounces. For example, a 140-pound woman should drink around 70 ounces – or almost 9 glasses – of water per day. Alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating, so drink an extra glass of water for every alcoholic or caffeinated beverage you consume.
Better Beverage Choices
Many classic summer drinks are loaded with sugar that zaps you of energy and can actually make you thirstier. These yummy, hydrating options energize, replenish and leave you feeling your best.
- Agua fresca – Spanish for “fresh water”, agua fresca is popular throughout Mexico and is a delicious way to use up leftover fruit. Blend together equal parts fruit and water – melon works particularly well, as does mango, strawberry and pineapple – then strain through a strainer and pour over ice. Add a squirt of lime or a mint sprig if you like.
- Coconut water – The clear liquid that is tapped from the center of young, green coconuts has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. High in electrolytes, some use coconut water as a natural sports drink.
- Iced herbal tea –Hibiscus, lemon verbena, chamomile and many other herbs make refreshing and restorative iced teas. With its cooling qualities, iced mint tea offers extra relief from heat on the hottest days. Brew your own – you’ll save money and avoid the excess sugar found in most commercial iced teas.
- Fruit chillers – Our Strawberry-Melon and Fruity Mint Chillers are a fruit-filled way to cool down on a summer day. Have fun experimenting with your own variations. Include other fruits you have on hand, blend with ice – the possibilities are endless!
- Flavored water – Water is still the best way to hydrate. When you are craving more flavor, infuse water or sparkling water with lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, orange slices, strawberries, melon or basil.
When summer turns up the heat, staying well hydrated helps you feel and perform your best. Don’t wait for thirst – by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which are high in water content, and treat yourself to these delicious summer drinks you can feel good about indulging in. When you hydrate smart, you feel refreshed, invigorated and can make the most of your summer.
You will love the way you feel!
The Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.