Sarah Remmer: The Non-Diet Dietitian


Stay Hydrated: 5 Smart Habits You Need to Start Today

Setting a goal to drink more water is just not enough

5 Habits You Need to Start Today to Stay Hydrated

It's hard to stay hydrated and drink enough water throughout the day. We try to make sure our kids are hydrated by having cups of water nearby and reminding them to take sips, but we often forget to drink enough ourselves. Sometimes, it's not until we feel a headache coming on, or when we are super thirsty that we reach for a drink, which is often too late - we're already dehydrated. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink, you're likely falling behind - thirst is a sign that you're already dehydrated.

Dietitians of Canada recommends that adults consume two to three litres of hydrating fluid per day, with at least half of that coming from water. But most Canadians aren't even close to meeting these fluid requirements. Research has showed that 44% of Canadians don't think they drink enough water, and over half of Canadians are drinking less than five glasses of water a day. This leaves us chronically dehydrated without even noticing. Hydrating fluids, especially water, help to maintain overall health and energy levels, but they also help with body temperature control, weight management, skin health, digestion, and circulation of nutrients thoughout the body.  

Simply setting a goal to drink more isn't enough. Instead, try building these habits into your daily routine:

1. Make your reusable water bottle your new best friend

Having a reusable water bottle by your side will keep you hydrated. Being hydrated means you will be keeping your skin healthy, helping your digestion, and helping to maintain a healthy weight.

Make sure your water bottle holds at least 500 mL, but is compact enough to fit into your purse or bag. I've tried dozens of water bottles, but my favourite so far is the bottle that came with my SodaStream machine. The shape and size of it are perfect and I love the large spout which allows me to add berries, lemon wedges, or cucumber to my sparkling water. It isn't made with any polycarbonate materials or substances that produce phthalates or PCBs, making it environmentally friendly. BONUS: Using a reusable water bottle also cuts down on the amount of plastic disposable water bottles you buy, not only saving the environment, but also saving you money. 

2. Make Water Drinking Fancy And Fun

Regular water can become boring after a while, which increases the likelihood of not drinking enough. Chilled sparkling water is refreshing, hydrating, and fun to drink. By adding some fizz and sparkle, it makes drinking water fun and enjoyable (which means you drink more); without the extra calories, sugar, and sodium that comes with store-bought fizzy drinks. In fact, having SodaStream at home has been shown to increase Canadians’ water intake.

3. Always Have Cut Fresh fruits and Veggies On Hand

Fruits and veggies are hydrating on their own, so by adding fresh or frozen fruit, fresh herbs, or vegetables like cucumber slices to your water or carbonated water, you add natural flavour without the use of chemicals or sweeteners.

Have cut-up fresh fruits and veggies ready in the fridge to throw into a water bottle and keep a bag of frozen berries on hand. You'll be amazed how adding natural flavour to your water increases your consumption. A splash of 100% fruit juice to your sparkling water is another easy way to add natural flavour without the use of chemicals.

Try these delicious sparkling water recipes: 

  Sparkling Spa Water - One bottle of SodaStream sparkling water + two to three lemon wedges + two to three slices of cucumber + 2 tsp fresh mint.

  Rosemary Orange Soda - Juice from one large orange + one or two sprigs of fresh rosemary + 2 tsp honey (microwave all together until hot, allow to cool and then strain). Add to one bottle of SodaStream sparkling water. 

  Sparkling Berry Soda -  One bottle of SodaStream sparkling water + 1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries etc.). Allow to infuse overnight and use within two days. 

4. Have more than one bottle chilled and ready to go

When you have healthy snack options on hand, like cut-up fruits and veggies, yogurt cups, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs, your family is bound to eat better. Same goes for water. When you have full water bottles ready to go in the fridge, you're more likely to take them instead of buying bottled water when you're out. Make three or four bottles at a time. By making sparkling water in batches, you save time and allow for more "infusing time" if adding fruits, veggies or herbs, and you always have a sparkly, yummy beverage on hand. 

5. Let your kids be a reminder

We tend to think about our kids' health before our own. Try making a habit of eating when they eat and drinking when they drink. Eating with your kids helps you to stay nourished every few hours and stop mindless snacking. Drinking with your kids helps you to stay hydrated - and allows you to model healthy habits.

Make these five habits part of your daily routine, and soon it will be much easier to drink enough during the day to keep your body at optimal hydration levels!