One of the most commonly heard “rules” in nutrition and wellness is that it is necessary to drink 8 glasses of water every day. It’s true that hydration is important, but the exact amount of water and how you should stay hydrated will vary by the individual, lifestyle, and activity level. The Institute of Medicine recommends about 11 cups daily for women and 15 cups for men. The good news is that you can easily find ways to stay hydrated every day, even if you don’t like plain water.
Drink Beverages That Aren’t Water
Liquids that aren’t water can also offer hydration. Stick to low or no calorie options like unsweetened tea, black coffee, or skim or low fat milk and you don’t have to worry so much about counting calories.
Eat Your Water
The water you take in through food helps to hydrate you as well! Did you know that, on average, we eat about 20% of our water? One way to do this is to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain a high percentage of water (Bonus: they are also low calorie foods with many beneficial nutrients). Soups and oatmeal are also easy and tasty ways to get your water, as is yogurt.
Upgrade Your Water
If the flavor, or lack thereof, of plain water keeps you from drinking it, consider adding a little flavor. You could add cut fruit like strawberries, citrus or melon to flavor your water. Adding bubbles makes water more enjoyable for many. You can buy sparkling water or make your own at home with something like a SodaStream. Another popular option is to use pre-packaged water enhancers that have few or no calories. One of my favorites is MiO, but you may also like True Citrus, Stur, or any of the many other options available.
If You Can’t Totally Give Up Soda or Juice
Juices and sodas are sneaky sources of calories and sugar but their big, sweet flavor can be hard to quit cold turkey. Try gradually watering your favorite drink down until you’re able to switch to water or at least a far less concentrated version with fewer calories and less sugar.