Water is important – so here are some ways you can keep it interesting and avoid feeling thirsty!
Staying well hydrated is important for your health, as water makes up 60-70% of your body. Water is used in many chemical reactions, maintaining your body temperature, digestion and also is important in our metabolism. Dehydration can also be confused with hunger so it is important to stay well hydrated for long term weight loss. And, drinking water with and between meals can help with portion control.
Plain water is the best drink, but there are other things that can count towards your fluid intake, such as tea, however you should be careful with beverages that are higher in energy such as milk based drinks (including coffee), soft drinks and juices.
For females, aim for 1.5-2 L of water per day, and males should aim for up to 3 L.
If you have exercised, or it is warmer, then it is also a good idea to increase this.
If you struggle with getting enough water in – here are some of our top tips:
- Drink a glass of water with each snack and meal that you eat
- Keep a bottle of water with you and set goals – e.g. by lunch time to finish 1 x 750 mL bottle.
- Track your water intake using a jug of water kept in the fridge
Here are some ideas to try to jazz up your water:
- Lemon or lime slices in plain or sparkling water – or try orange or grapefruit slices to mix it up
- Colourful berries – try sliced strawberries and basil or mint
- Cucumber and mint
- Ginger and lemon
- Hibiscus tea
- Tropical fruits like pineapple or watermelon slices
Fruit juice, cordial, soft drinks and sports drinks are high in sugar, calories and low in nutrition. One glass of orange juice for example can contain the juice and sugar of 4-5 oranges, but unlike eating the oranges you won’t feel full. It is best to avoid these, or stick to a vegetable juice (with only one piece of fruit in it) instead. Artificial sweeteners in diet soft drinks may make you crave more sweet foods, and the safety of these sweeteners is still disputed in the research.
If you would like stronger flavours in your water, without the sugar, try steeping a fruit flavoured herbal tea bag in ¼ cup hot water for 2-3 mins to extract flavour, remove the tea bag and top up with cold water & ice. You can also make sugar free iced tea in bulk and keep it in the fridge (don’t leave the tea bag or leaves in there, as it will end up tasting bitter).
For a sparkling soft drink alternative, try sparkling mineral waters infused with lemon or lime essences. Kombucha (a fermented tea) is also lower in energy than soft drinks, but many brands can still contain sugar and calories so read the labels. There are also brands of soft drinks such as Nexba and ALT that are sweetened with stevia and erythritol, naturally occurring sweeteners, that appear to be safer than chemical sweeteners.