Ask the Dietitian: Staying Hydrated in the Summer Heat

Higher temperatures raise your risk of dehydration, making it especially important to monitor your hydration habits. While staying hydrated in the summertime may seem challenging, a few new ideas and strategies can go a long way. Registered Dietitian Diane Welland is sharing solutions to your biggest roadblocks, so you can keep your fluid intake in-check all summer long.

I know that hydration is important, but I’m not a huge fan of water. What are some ways to shake things up?

Try infusing your water with a splash of juice or a few slices of fresh fruit, such as lemons, oranges, or berries. Fresh herbs are also refreshing additions. A little extra flavor can be a simple yet effective way to motivate yourself to hydrate more. You can also supplement your water intake with juice. Most 100% juices are about 80% water!

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) includes 100% juice a primary beverage to consume, along with water and low-fat milk. Just make sure you’re watching your portion sizes. Adults and children seven and older should aim for eight ounces (or one cup) daily. Children one to three years old can have up to four ounces, and six ounces is recommended for children ages four to six.

On those fun-filled summer days where you find yourself falling behind on your hydration goals, reach for a glass of OJ. Orange juice is particularly effective in rehydrating and quenching thirst, as well as restoring electrolytes. In fact, a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that orange juice may even be more hydrating than water!

Are there certain foods that can help with hydration?

Absolutely! Head over to the farmer’s market for some seasonal summer fruit. Tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and peaches have especially high water content, and can help increase your hydration levels.

A bowl of oatmeal can offer a hydrating start to your day, since the oats absorb the water or milk used to cook it. (Add some fresh fruit for bonus hydration points!) A chilled soup is another refreshing way to help your body retain water.

Do you have any tips for keeping kids hydrated?

Children can become dehydrated quicker than adults, making it especially important to monitor their fluid intake. To make habits stick, make hydration a part of their daily routine. Get into the habit of handing your child a beverage before and after going outside, and it will soon become a natural component of their day.

For a kid-friendly water alternative, research has found that apple juice can help with rehydration for children. Fun, frozen treats are another way to sneak more hydration into their day. Serve our Lemonade Cucumber Popsicles or Grapefruit Watermelon Ice Pops as post-playtime refreshments. As you gear up for back-to-school season, make it a priority to pack a beverage in school lunches.

I exercise often. What should I know about staying hydrated for workouts?

Exercise already places greater demands on the body for fluid, and hotter temperatures makes hydration an even higher priority – before, during, and after your workout. Get ahead of the game by drinking plenty of fluids the night before a morning hike or jog. Also, hydrate during the few hours leading up to exercise.

During exercise, hydration amounts vary based on activity level, age, and other factors. The Produce for Better Health has a hydration worksheet that can help you determine the healthiest strategy for you.

If your post-workout hydration habits need some work, try switching things up with a smoothie. Our Dark Chocolate and Cran-Raspberry is a tasty option.

With all the summer socializing, I’m having trouble staying on top of my hydration needs. How can I keep things balanced?

There’s no harm in enjoying a summer cocktail or two! Just keep in mind that alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it can dehydrate the body. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink a glass of water or another beverage that’s high in electrolytes such as coconut water.

You can also try serving up our Summer Punch at your next summer gathering. This blend of apple and grape juice is non-alcoholic, so both kids and adults can stay hydrated during the festivities.

For more creative ways to hydrate, check out our Recipes page. To learn more about healthy habits for children, check out our Parent Resources.

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