Hydration is always a hot topic because it's one of those supposedly easy things we should do to maintain or improve our health. There is no question about the importance of drinking water. Some research shows that daily water consumption should be about 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women, which doesn't even account for strenuous activity and warmer weather.
But for some people, like me, water can get boring sometimes so I've looked for ways to improve my hydration without drinking water. Here are 5 tips I found most helpful for increasing water intake without drinking water:
1 - Include more soups and stews in your diet
While people usually associate soups with the fall and winter months, I LOVE eating soup all year round. The thing I like most about soups and stews is that they are so versatile and easy to make with nearly any ingredient in your home. You can fill them with veggies, meat, lentils, beans, pasta, rice - whatever you have available! You can make your soup base easily if you don't have broth, no problem you can make your own with water, spices and flavorful foods like mushrooms and tomatoes. And what's even better....soups and stews are hydrating!
Check out my favorite tomato soup recipe here. I substituted the sugar with monk fruit sweetener and it tasted amazing!
If you're a fan of Indian food, eating foods with a high water content is even easier. With curried foods like dals, chana masala and rajma, there are plenty of options for hydrating foods. My favorite Indian food recipes are from My Heart Beets - the recipes are super easy to make and always delicious. I love the recipe for rajma (curried kidney beans)...it turns out perfect every time!
2 - Eat raw veggies and fruits
Fruits and vegetables have a very high water content, making them a great way to stay hydrated. The following fruits and veggies are 90-99% water:
And the list goes on! Fruits are usually easy to gobble up but if you're one of those people that have a hard time eating raw veggies on their own, try eating veggies with dip. I always make my own dip instead of buying the store-bought stuff which usually contains a lot of junk. Check out my healthy dill dip recipe, which is both delicious and nutritious! The best part about eating veggies with dip is that it increases water content even more (yogurt has water content between 80-90%).
3 - Drink coconut water and electrolyte drinks
While the jury is out on whether coconut water and other electrolyte drinks actually hydrate more than water, drinks like coconut water are equally hydrating and also contain electrolytes - minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium - which is important to support healthy body function. That said, if you are eating a balanced diet and drinking water, you should be able to get all the electrolytes you need. But if you are losing a lot of water from your body - sweating on a particularly hot day, engaging in high levels of activity, or are sick - a drink like coconut water might be just what you need. These drinks also tend to be very refreshing! Just watch out for electrolyte drinks that have a ton of sugar or are filled with other junk. Some popular drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can contain almost as much sugar as soda. I'll note too that coconut water does contain a fair amount of naturally occurring sugar as well so if you are a diabetic or watching your sugar intake, it might be best to limit coconut water consumption.
I often make my own electrolyte drinks at home which are delicious, easy to make and don't contain any junky ingredients. Check out my sugar-free homemade electrolyte drink recipe!
4 - Use cooking methods that retain water
Cooking methods can impact how hydrating your food is - some methods of cooking retain water better than others. Steaming is the probably the best example. Steaming food uses hot steam to cook food which helps retain its nutrients in a way that boiling does not. The moisture is also retained in the food and, even better, it is super easy to do. All you need is a pot of boiling water and a steaming basket and you're good to go!
Pressure cooking also helps to retain moisture in food. Since pressure cooking cooks food in a closed pot, there is significantly less water evaporation than there would be when cooking on a stove. Pressure cooking also requires food that is watery in nature so it's naturally a good choice for more hydrating meal options. And if you're like me and are a fan of the Instant Pot, you can make super easy and delicious meals in just minutes! Check out my favorite Instant Pot chili recipe.
5 - Eat chia pudding
Chia pudding is incredibly hydrating because chia seeds retain so much liquid to become soft and gooey for chia pudding. Not only is it hydrating but chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and are very nutritious. If you're not a fan of chia pudding, you can add chia seeds to oatmeal or any other hot cereal. You will just need to add more liquid so it doesn't clump up.
I'm a huge fan of chia pudding because it's super versatile and easy to change up with different add-ins and toppings. I love this recipe from Cookie and Kate. I'll usually make it with almond milk and water combined and monk fruit sweetener instead of honey or maple syrup and it comes out great!
All that said...drinking water is still super important!
While these tips are a really great ways to supplement your water intake, ultimately, drinking water is still the best way to stay hydrated especially when combined with a healthy diet. But these tips definitely helped me improve my hydration - I hope they help you too! Got your own tips for staying hydrated? Share them in the comments below!