nav-left cat-right

Tips to Stay Hydrated in the Summer HEAT!

Water is the most essential nutrient and substance after air for sustaining life. The human body is composed of approximately 60% water. Lean body mass (muscle) contains more water than fat, 70 to 75% versus approximately 40% for fat. Thus, men’s bodies, as well as athletes’ bodies, that have more proportionately more lean muscle tissue, contain more water than bodies with less lean muscle mass and more fat.

The functions of water in the human body are many. It is the medium in which all biochemical reactions occur, is essential for removing waste and transporting nutrients, maintaining blood volume and circulation throughout the body and maintaining body temperature. Regulating body temperature is particularly important in hot weather and during exercise (inside or outside, especially in hot weather).

During physical activity, your internal temperature raises. This heat travels through your bloodstream to your skin. This causes you to sweat, your bodies’ attempt to cool. Evaporated sweat cools your body…returning your body temperature to normal, which is important for optimal function. You must replenish fluids regularly. Once you feel thirst, you have lost approximately 1% of your body fluid. A 2% water loss can cause noticeable adverse symptoms, such as extreme fatigue. Fluid needs depend upon external factors as well – even the clothing you are wearing!!

Top Hydration Tips

  1. Drink enough fluids to prevent thirst. Hydrating fluids include: water, tea, coffee (try iced in summer), juices/diluted juices, milk and soups. Caffeine (in tea and coffee) was once considered to be a diuretic but recent research suggest that a slight diuretic effect doesn’t discount their hydrating properties. If you don’t enjoy plain water, try carbonated water or add natural flavoring to it (mint leaves, cucumber slices, citrus fruit wedges).
  2. Monitor your urine color and volume. It should be a pale yellow color. If it is dark yellow, cloudy or pungent (in odor) you may be dehydrated.
  3. Consume five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables daily. All foods contain SOME water, but fruits and vegetables are higher in water content than other foods and can help quench your thirst. Keep melons, citrus fruits, juicy pears, cucumbers, tomatoes, berries, etc…
  4. Alcohol is very dehydrating and when consuming alcohol, your urine may indicate you are hydrated when in fact, you are not. Alternate sips of your alcoholic beverage with water; never exercise with a hangover and consume alcohol in moderation.


Refreshing, cool, hydrating summer snacks

Do you find that the summer heat takes a lot out of you? Shake things up by making fruit-based popsicles and slushies. They offer calories (as a snack), vitamins and minerals and the nutrient most essential for life (2nd only to oxygen)… water.

Kitchen Essentials: Blender and Popsicle Molds

Two essential kitchen accessories to ensure happy faces all summer include a high-powered blender and a set of popsicle molds. Make your own tasty, refreshing slushies and popsicles. There are many recipes available online. You can also make up your own recipes. Use what’s in season and think outside of the box. When it’s super-hot, you may not feel like eating. Irregular eating patterns can zap energy. For a fun pick-me-up, these treats can do the trick.

Suggested Recipes:

A few ideas to get you started: in a blender, whip up equal parts nonfat yogurt and frozen raspberries (about 1 cup of each). Add sugar or another sweetener to taste. Blend well, pour into molds and freeze. Love avocados? This neutral-flavored, creamy fruit makes great (saturated fat-free) ‘ice cream’ and ‘ice’ pops. Start by combining a 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a pot. Place on the stove top (medium heat), stirring occasionally until the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves completely in the water. Let cool to room temperature. In the meantime, scoop the flesh out of two medium-sized ripe avocados and put in a blender. Add the cooled sugar-water mixture. Add 2 TB fresh lime juice. Optional ingredients include fresh mint leaves and/or a splash of tequila (adults only!). Blend well at high-speed. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze and enjoy. Each recipe makes 5-6 large popsicles.

Make yourself a hydrating, refreshing green slushy by combining, in a blender: 1 cup cucumber (peeled, seeded regular or ‘English’ cucumber), 2 cups honeydew melon chunks (that you’ve frozen), a dozen fresh mint leaves and 2 – 4 tbsp. fresh lime juice (to taste) as well as 1 – 2 tsp. honey. Blend well and serve in 2 tall glasses.

All three of the above recipes offer 100 to 200 calories per serving.

Picnic food ideas: make healthier choices

Being mid-July, picnic season is now in full swing. Picnics are cheap, fun and convenient venues for enjoying time outdoors with family and friends. Unfortunately, typical picnic food choices in the United States are, well, fattening and devoid of  important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals!

Poor Picnic Food Choices

If you are not careful, you can down over 2,000 calories easily by loading your plate with common picnic food choices, such as a loaded hamburger (with cheese and a white bun), coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, chips and dip, beverages and desserts, such as cookies. Even ketchup isn’t ‘free’ at 20 calories per tablespoon. While that might not seem like much, check this out: a 1-cup scoop of traditional potato salad, a true picnic food staple, can set you back nearly 400 calories!

It doesn’t take long to fill up on poor picnic food choices. What’s worse is that during most picnics, you are sitting, which burns few calories. Making a few smart trade-offs and adding physical activity can literally save you hundreds of calories. Over time, trading in high-calorie foods with lower-calorie foods can help keep the pounds from piling on. Keep in mind that consuming an extra 100 calories each day (beyond what you need to maintain your weight) over a year can mean a 10 lb. gain. And many Americans consume picnic food fare throughout the summer.

Better Picnic Food Choices

Trade-in that 1/4-pound hamburger on a white bun for a grilled 5-oz. chicken breast on a whole wheat roll for a savings of approximately 150 calories. An ear of sweet corn and a cup of fresh fruit provides about 210 calories. Salsa, with its chunky tomato-base, vegetables, and fresh herbs, offers a mere 5 calories per tbsp. Use it as a dip for raw vegetables and baked tortilla chips. Swap sugary beverages for low-cal lemonade, water or unsweetened iced teAdd playtime to your picnica. For dessert, fill your cooler with homemade Popsicles or fruit ice. Other diet-friendly picnic food choices include: hummus with pita wedges, three-bean salad, grilled veggies, fresh watermelon and toasted marshmallows. Play softball or throw around a Frisbee for exercise and fun and you’ll walk away having consumed fewer than 800 calories and expending, on average, 175 calories.