Drinking enough water has always been a challenge for me. Of course, hydration doesn’t have to be just about water. It can include juice, fruits, vegetables, smoothies, milk and even tea. However, there are times when I talk myself out of drinking anything at all because I know I’ll be leaving the house for errands or to head to my son’s soccer game. Going to the bathroom in the bushes at the edge of the soccer field (why, oh why aren’t there bathrooms at fields?) sounds as appealing as eating a picnic beside a garbage dump. So, I cut myself off from water a couple of hours before leaving the house. By the end of the day, I’m so thirsty that I’m ready to drain the entire water pitcher in five minutes flat.
Now that I’ve increased my running mileage and the half-marathon is less than four weeks away, hydrating my body has become more and more important. Bring on the water, bring on the smoothies, bring on the herbal tea…you name it, I’m drinking it.
There are so many options for hydration. Let’s go through a few of them:
Nothing beats good old tap water for hydration. There are no sugars, artificial sweeteners, flavorings or calories. Plan to drink water during your meals. Remember, taking sips of water while eating helps with portion control. There’s nothing better than hydrating with water during exercise. However, if that exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, you might want to consider re-fueling with energy drinks as well.
Fruits, vegetables and juices:
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 20% of our daily hydration needs can be met with food. Pick fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, tomatoes and citrus fruits. For juices, lean towards the pure stuff, which is not chock-a-block full of added sugar.
Cow’s milk, almond milk and soy milk can all count towards your daily hydration points. Consider choosing low- or non-fat varieties. Surprisingly, several studies over the past several years showed that milk can speed up recovery after intense exercise, thanks to its hydrating properties and levels of protein.
Coffee and tea:
The caffeinated versions of these drinks aren’t your best options for hydration, but they can certainly count. Fully caffeinated beverages can act as diuretics, which is counterintuitive to hydrating. Herbal teas are your best choices in this category.
How much water?
We’ve all heard the the recommendation of “drink eight glasses of water per day”. How accurate is this? According to the Mayo Clinic, the Institute of Medicine recommends that men should drink about 13 cups (3 liters) and women should drink about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of beverages (primarily water) each day. If you work exercise into your day, plan to increase your intake.
I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to hydrate. Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section.
The winner of last week’s OXO giveaway, on the post Portion Control for Weight Loss and Healthy Living is:
Comment #313 Julia who said: “I absolutely love this post! I’ve been trying to lose a couple pounds and have been really struggling! Being able to weigh my portions would be awesome.”
Congratulations, Julia! I will be sending you an email.
Let’s move onto the recipe. Making this smoothie becomes even easier when you make extra green tea ice cubes. Whip out your OXO kettle (see the giveaway below) and brew up your favorite green or herbal tea. Pour the tea into ice cube trays so that you have extra tea cubes for future use.
The ice cubes:
Using your favorite green (or herbal) tea, brew 1 1/2 cups of tea.
Let the tea steep for extra time, 8 to 10 minutes, so that the tea is very strong.
Pour the tea into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer until frozen solid.
In a blender, combine, 4 green tea ice cubes, berries, banana, Greek yogurt, skim milk, flax meal and agave nectar.
Blend until smooth. Serve.
Green Tea, Berry & Yogurt Smoothie
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 1 green (or herbal) tea bag
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup berries (I used marionberries)
- 1/2 banana
- 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
- Using your favorite green (or herbal) tea, brew 1½ cups of tea.
- Let the tea steep for extra time, 8 to 10 minutes, so that the tea is very strong.
- Pour the tea into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer until frozen solid.
- In a blender, combine, 4 green tea ice cubes, berries, banana, Greek yogurt, skim milk, flax meal and agave nectar.
- Blend until smooth. Serve.
Here are the items included in the giveaway (approximate value $65 USD):
OXO’s Uplift Tea Kettle in Stainless Steel – I love everything about this kettle. When you lift the handle and pour, the spout automatically opens. The handle is heat-resistant, so you don’t scorch your hand. Very easy to use and it looks cool, too.
OXO Water Bottle – The design of this water bottle is brilliant. Twist open the bottle at the halfway mark for easy filling and cleaning, and open the top to drink. The winner will have their choice of the available colors.
This giveaway is open to residents of the United States 18 years of age or older (I apologize to my Canadian readers – I promise there will be giveaways for you in the future) and will be open until Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 5pm PST.
The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified via email, so please make sure your email address is correct. You will have 48 hours to respond to me, or a new winner will be chosen.
To enter, just leave a comment on this post.
To earn additional entries, leave separate comments for each of the steps listed below. If you don’t leave separate comments for each step, the number generator will not count them as separate entries. If you already follow/”like” OXO or Cookin’ Canuck, just let me know that in your comments.
1. Follow OXO on Twitter.
2. Follow Cookin’ Canuck on Twitter.
3. Tweet about this giveaway, including my Twitter handle. Here’s an example: Head to @CookinCanuck for a Green Tea & Berry Smoothie, hydration tips, & a new @OXO giveaway. http://bit.ly/GIiLvh
4. “Like” OXO on Facebook.
5. “Like”Cookin’ Canuck on Facebook.
6. Share on your Facebook page and leave me the link (click on the time stamp of your “share” to access the link).
7. Follow Cookin’ Canuck on Pinterest.
8. Pin this post on Pinterest. You can tag me if you like – I’m listed as Cookin’ Canuck Dara Michalski.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by OXO and they supplied me with some OXO products for my personal use and the giveaway. As usual, all opinions are my own. What can I say? I’m an OXO fan.