As summer heats up, you're probably paying more attention to your fluid intake (or at least you should be). When it's hot outside and you're keeping active, dehydration can leave you feeling light-headed and disoriented. Cooling off with refreshing beverages can keep your body hydrated and your waistline intact -- if you know which ones to drink.
While a Caribbean cocktail may be what you have in mind, remember that alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you and awaken your appetite (read: unwanted calories).
Did you know that a cocktail such as a piña colada can have as much as 300 calories! While you may start with good intentions to stick to a couple drinks, four drinks, a few appetizers and some dessert later and you'll be full of regrets!
Here are some tips to keep cool and slim this summer:
Keep the Fluids Flowing: You don't have to drink just plain water to be hydrated. All non-alcoholic beverages count toward fluid needs, including juice, milk, coffee, tea, sports drinks and sodas. Yes, caffeinated drinks count too!
Eat to Stay Hydrated: Eating fruits and vegetables with a high content of water is a delicious way to hydrate and they provide you with a boost in your daily nutrients. Some of my favorites are cucumbers, watermelon, grapes, and peaches. Freeze them or make them into fun small popsicles for an extra refreshing cooling effect.
Have a "Mocktail": Don't let alcohol get in the way of enjoying your summer outings. Instead opt for your favorite flavorful "mocktails" that incorporate low- and no-calorie beverage mixers or juices instead of alcohol. Try adding a handful of mint sprigs and 3-4 lime slices to some lemon-lime soda and a handful of pomegranate seeds for a tart punch of color.
Take the Flow On the Go: Make sure to keep a reusable water bottle with your favorite beverage with you at all times. If you're active in hot weather, it's easy to get dehydrated quickly! Remember to drink fluids BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER vigorous exercise. For physical activity lasting longer than 1-1.5 hours, sport drinks help replace important carbohydrates and electrolytes, in addition to fluids.
Manage Calories: If you get bored with water, look for beverages made with low- and no-calorie sweeteners. They are refreshing, safe and offer a variety of flavors without adding calories.
Stay hydrated and happy this summer.