You’ve heard plenty of times how important staying hydrated is for your well-being. In case you need a reminder, though: “Water is critical for many functions, such as digestion, protecting your body tissues, spinal cord, and joints, regulating body temperature, ensuring mental productivity, and enabling maximum physical performance,” says dietitian Kelly Jones, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D.N.
Without enough H2O, all of these functions become compromised. Plus, dehydration can cause trouble concentrating, headaches, and fatigue, says Jones. Active people may even experience cramping and heat exhaustion.
Though you may have had your hydration routine down pat before the coronavirus pandemic turned daily life upside down, drinking ample water can be surprisingly difficult at home.
“When you’re out of a normal routine, healthy habits like maintaining good hydration can dwindle,” Jones says. After all, you no longer have the office water cooler to remind you to grab a drink every time you get up from your desk—and more sedentary days at home may leave you feeling less thirsty.
However, staying hydrated is still important (arguably more so than ever)! Keep these tips in mind to make sure you’re giving your body the water it needs while you’re cooped up at home.
1. Make Water Exciting
If you struggle to guzzle down the recommended eight-plus glasses of water per day, add a little flavor with citrus fruits.
“Luckily, citrus fruits have long shelf lives, so stock up on grapefruit, oranges, and lemons,” says Jones, who personally loves adding lemon or grapefruit to her own water.
Not big on the citrus? Swap in other fruits and herbs, such as cucumber, raspberries, or strawberries with mint.
2. Load Up On Produce
If you struggle to drink your water, try eating it instead. Though all produce contains some water, certain types are particularly high in H2O.
With 94 percent water, bell peppers are another hydrating option.
Bonus: Peppers are also high in vitamin C, which supports immunity. Just be sure to eat them as close to raw as possible, since cooking them drains their fluid and minimizes their vitamin C content, Jones says.
Cruciferous veggies, which are easy to find in the freezer aisle, also contain a surprisingly high amount of water. (Broccoli and cauliflower contain 89 percent and 88 percent water, respectively.)
“You’ll maintain the most fluid if you sauté or steam, but roasting is a great idea too, so long as you don’t overcook them,” suggests Jones. Try adding these veggies to pastas or eggs, or using them as a side dish.
Swap spiralized zucchini in for spaghetti, or sauté it up with your other favorite veggies.
Lettuce is a 96 percent water and contains folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K, says Michalczyk.
Whether you use it in salads, wraps, or sandwiches, the more leafy lettuce you can add to your diet, the better. “Don’t shy away from mixing different kinds of lettuce together to add more life to your salads and switch up the flavors,” suggests Michalczyk.
Whether they’re adding crunch to your salad or scooping up a big bowl of dip, cucumbers—which are 95 percent water—are a super-hydrating veg to have on hand.
“I recommend snacking on cucumbers with a source of protein, like hummus or a handful of nuts, for more staying power,” Michalczyk suggests.
3. Sip On Electrolytes
If you really want your water to go the extra mile for you, add an electrolyte powder to it.
These powders help you replenish the electrolytes lost during exercise and maintain hydration and fluid balance, says Jones.
Plus, “having some electrolytes and flavor in your drink may help increase your fluid intake,” she adds.
Try adding True Athlete Balanced Hydration Powder, which is made with all-natural ingredients and comes in Lemon Lime and Fruit Punch flavors, to your water for a little extra oomph.
Want to skip the powder? Sip on some coconut water, which naturally contains electrolytes.
“Coconut water is filled with potassium, sodium, and magnesium, and is great to reach for when you want to up your hydration status,” says Michalczyk. “Use it in smoothies or drink it after a workout to replenish your electrolytes and quench thirst.”
4. Create New Habits
To make sure the new daily life and routines created by the coronavirus pandemic don’t mess with your hydration, you’ll have to create new habits around drinking water.
The way to do it: “Associate drinking water with other tasks,” says Jones. “For example, fill your glass with every trip to the bathroom, as well as every time you get up for a snack break.”
Another option: Every time you cross something off your to-do list for the day, finish your glass of water.
By tacking hydration onto activities you’re already doing, you’ll drink more water without thinking too much about it.
5. Track Your Sips
That said, if you’re still struggling to remember to drink fluids, a fluid tracking app can remind you when you need to catch up throughout the day, suggests Jones.
Try an app like Waterminder or Daily Water, which can help you track how much you’re drinking and how often.
When in doubt, though, simply set an alarm on your phone for every few hours to remind yourself to drink a glass.