When it’s cold outside, the last thing most of us are craving is an ice-cold glass of water. However, it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as it is in the summer. Often, we don’t feel as thirsty in the winter because we don’t sweat we much. Therefore it is important to continuously hydrate throughout the day because by the time you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. While different people have different water needs based on height, weight and activity level, a good rule of thumb is to aim for eight to twelve glasses of water each day.
One way to meet your hydration goals is to get a reusable water bottle. These eco-friendly bottles can be found inexpensively almost anywhere. Check how many ounces of liquid your bottle holds. This information is usually available on the bottom of the bottle. Then challenge yourself to drink and refill your bottle a certain number of times. For example, the first week you may try to drink three bottles of water. The next week you may challenge yourself to four. Having a number of bottles to drink throughout the day is a more attainable goal when you turn it into a challenge. It’s also much easier when you always have your bottle with you. Did you know that people tend to drink more through a straw?
While drinking water is the most obvious way to hydrate yourself, almost all fluids count toward your hydration needs. The latest research suggests that coffee and tea in moderate amounts can be used to meet your fluid goals. Alcohol, however, does not count toward your hydration needs because it acts as a diuretic in your body and can cause dehydration. The healthiest choices to meet both your hydration and weight loss or maintenance goals are low-or no-calorie beverages. Herbal teas, plain or no-calorie flavored seltzers and coconut water are fun drinks to keep your taste buds interested. Coconut water has a naturally sweet, nutty flavor and is nutrient rich (packed with potassium, magnesium and calcium), yet low in calories. It contains just 45-60 calories per serving depending on the flavor. Be sure to choose a coconut water brand that’s not made from concentrate, such as Vita Coco. Another great option for a low calorie, flavorful beverage is iced tea. Pick a citrus or fruit-flavored tea like Tazo Strawberry, Passion, Blush Blackberry or Scarlet Citrus Rooibos and add a few bags to a pitcher of water or your favorite water bottle. Refrigerate and steep overnight for a lightly sweet and antioxidant-rich drink.
Did you know that food can also help you meet your hydration needs? You may realize that watermelon contains plenty of water, but many of the foods we eat in the winter are rich in water. Lettuce is 96% water, grapefruit is 90% water and broccoli is 89% water. Dairy products also have a high water content. Low-fat milk is 89% water and low-fat yogurt is 85% water.
No matter what drink you choose, make sure you are meeting your fluid needs this winter. You may find you feel less hungry, have better focus and can perform your physical activity more easily with this one simple change.