Prioritizing Hydrating This Summer

By: Lauren Kremer, Dietetic Intern

This summer is shaping up to be a HOT one!  Drinking enough water and healthy liquids is critical to keep from becoming dehydrated, for people of all ages. We need roughly eight 8-ounce cups per day to keep hydrated. With this in mind, I set out to create a nutrition education session for communities served by two Lenox Hill Neighborhood House programs: CARE, an arts-based social day program for older adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, and Casa Mutua, which provides permanent housing and support services for 54 formerly homeless individuals with a history of mental illness.

Working with each group, we tasted fruits and vegetables high in water content, such as cucumber, celery and green peppers. We talked about which foods seemed to contain the greatest amount of water and which we enjoyed the most. Including these types of foods in your diet will help you to remain hydrated this summer.

Here are some tips for Teaching Kitchen participants to help your clients stay hydrated during the summer:

1.      Always have water available, so they are in the habit of drinking.
2.      Serve hydrating fruit and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumbers, citrus fruits,
         applesauce or yogurt – these food carry fluids and can help keep you hydrated.
3.      Provide flavored waters (see below).
4.      Post a sign with a reminder to drink water.
5.      Post a notice about signs of dehydration to be aware of: dizziness, weak pulse,                       little or no urination, cold hands and feet, or low blood pressure. 

Below is one of my favorite recipes, which I shared with clients: all citrus flavored water. If not liking the taste of water or boredom with it prevents clients from drinking it, adding fruit is an easy way to increase water consumption without adding sugar. Avoid drinking juices or sweetened beverages.

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All Citrus Flavored Water

1.      Wash 1 orange, 1 lime and 1 lemon.
2.      Slice fruit into rounds, then cut the rounds in half.
3.      Add to jar, press and twist with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon.
4.      Press enough to release some of the juices, but don't pulverize the fruit.
5.      Fill the jar with ice.
6.      Pour in water to the top.
7.      Stir it with the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick.
8.      Put a lid on it, put it in the fridge, and chill.