Hydration Tips: the Importance of Staying Hydrated from a Dietitian

With the weather being at its peak temperature for many of us, it is very important to keep up with your hydration and utilize hydration tips. 

Hot and humid weather can cause many of us to sweat and lose electrolytes, which will lead to dehydration if not it is not replenished quickly enough.

Water is an essential nutrient and has many vital functions inside your body. Being dehydrated from water can lead to unwanted symptoms such as dizziness, brain fog, fatigue, and more.

If you want to be feeling and looking your best this summer, then I recommend prioritizing your hydration and getting enough water!

In today’s article, I will be going over the importance & functions of water, hydration recommendations, and my best hydration tips from a registered dietitian. 

So let’s get into it!

Importance & Functions of Water

As I mentioned above, water is an essential nutrient that life cannot survive without. All of the cells, tissues, and organs inside your body need water to function.

In fact, over 60% of your body is made up of water! 

This water can be found in your blood, hormones, enzymes, and spinal fluid. 

The term “hydration” and being “hydrated” means that you’re providing your body with the adequate amount of water that it needs for basic functions. 

A few of the functions of water inside your body are:

  • Flushes out waste from the body
  • Regulates body temperature 
  • Helps the brain function
  • Carries nutrients throughout the body
  • Maintains blood* volume and pressure 
  • Promotes skin integrity
  • Promotes healthy bowel function
  • Keeps muscles, bones, and joints in form

Hydration Recommendations

So now you may be asking, how much water do I need to stay hydrated and perform these basic functions properly? 

How much water you will need to drink will be based on a few factors. This includes:

  • Activity and exercise
  • Environment – climate, temperature, and altitude
  • Weight
  • Health and illness
  • Special conditions like pregnancy and lactation

A general recommendation goes as follows:

  • Men: 3.7 liters (15.6 cups) per day
  • Women: 2.7 liters (11.4 cups) per day
  • Pregnant women: 3 liters per day
  • Lactation: 3.8 liters per day

If you’d like to go by your weight instead, the recommendation is 30-40 mL of water per kilogram of bodyweight. To get your weight in kilograms, simply divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. 

For example, if you are 150 pounds:

150/2.2 = 68 kilograms. 68 x 30-40 mL = 2040-2700 mL per day of water

A quick way to check your hydration level is to take a look at the color of your urine. If you are consuming enough water it should be a pale yellow color.

On the flip side, you want to be careful to make sure you aren’t OVERhydrating because your body can’t store water. This is a more rare situation but can happen if people are partaking in “water cleanses” or things of that nature! 

Hydration Tips to Try Today!

Now that you know the importance of water and adequate hydration, here are some of my best tips for staying hydrated. 

  1. Drink water approximately every 20 minutes or so.
    1. Drink a glass of water with each meal and between meals.
    2. Drink when you are thirsty. Take water breaks instead of coffee breaks.
  2. Eat some of these hydrating foods with a high water content
    1. Cucumbers 97%
    2. Lettuce 96%
    3. Zucchini and Squash 95%
    4. Tomatoes 95%
    5. Spinach 91%
    6. Grapefruit 92%
    7. Watermelon 92%
    8. Strawberries 91%
    9. Cantaloupe 90%
    10. Peaches 89%
  3. Drink extra water if you are doing vigorous exercise (especially in the heat)
    1. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It’s important to drink water before, during, and after a workout.
    2. Use sports drinks to replace the electrolytes that are lost through a lot of sweating if you are working out >1 hr
    3. Electrolyte/hydration tablets are also a good option! I like this one from LMNT
  4. Use reusable water bottles with no BPA*
    1. Stainless steel & glass are great options. I personally love my yeti!
  5. If you are going to be outside or at the beach all day, try swapping sparkling water for alcoholic beverages
    1. Alcohol dehydrates your body even faster 
  6. Be careful with energy drinks & caffeinated beverages
    1. Primarily because of the potentially harmful effects of excessive caffeine in these drinks. And caffeine can cause dehydration!
  7. Make your water more exciting
    1. Infusion water – infused with fruit, honey, lemon, cucumber
    2. Seltzer (carbonated) water
    3. Lemon water
    4. Green tea
    5. Coconut water
    6. Herbal water – infused with mint, lavender, basil, ginger
    7. Ice water

The Takeaway

Use these hydration tips mentioned above to make sure you are keeping up with your hydration this summer! 

The best thing you can do is be prepared and if you know you are going to be outside in the heat or engaging in vigorous exercise, pack an electrolyte tablet & reusable water bottle with you. 

Your body will thank you for keeping it hydrated and allowing it to function to the best of its ability! 

If you are looking for additional support with your nutrition, reach out to me through my services page, and let’s get you started today. 


Healthy Snacks: A 5 Step How-To Guide

Learning how to build healthy snacks is important for your overall health! Snacks help to keep us full throughout the day, balance our blood sugar levels, and prevent overeating later on in the day.

But have you ever been in a grocery store and felt overwhelmed by all of the snack options? Have you struggled to find an option that was balanced and satiating (keeps you full)?

I am sharing my guide for building healthy snacks as a registered dietitian! 

So you can skip the stress at the grocery store and have more control over the ingredients you are eating. 

Let’s get started and make sure to save this post for later! 

1. Pack It with Protein

Protein is important for keeping your body strong and building muscle. Protein also helps to keep you fuller for longer which makes it a key component in a balanced snack!

  • Aim for at least 10 grams of protein in your snacks. 
  • Examples of adding protein to your snacks:
    1. Greek yogurt
    2. Hummus
    3. Canned tuna
    4. Protein Bars
    5. Boiled eggs
    6. Roasted chickpeas/lentils
    7. Protein powder
    8. Smoked salmon slices
    9. Nuts/trail mix

2. Add a Fruit or Vegetable

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber which your body needs daily to function. 

Putting an extra focus on including fruits and vegetables in your snacks is a great way to make sure you are fueling your body. You can eat them whole or sliced up!

  • Examples of fruits and vegetables for snacking:
    • Baby Carrots
    • Sliced Cucumbers
    • Celery
    • Sliced Bell Peppers
    • Apple Slices
    • Strawberries
    • Grapes
    • Bananas
    • Oranges

3. Choose the Whole Grain

Whole grains have lots of fiber and nutrients that are important for your body’s digestion! They can help give your body energy to last throughout the day.

Examples of getting more whole grains in your snacks:

  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Whole-grain energy bars 
  • Whole-grain toast
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Buckwheat cereal
  • Toasted quinoa

4. Add a Healthy Fat

Healthy fats help control your hormones, hydrate your skin, and lower your risk of heart disease. Having a good source of fat in your snack can help keep you fuller for longer!

Examples of healthy fats to add to your snacks:

  • Avocados
  • Olive oil drizzle
  • Nuts + seeds
  • Egg yolks
  • Olives
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.)

5. Pair It All Together

Boost your snack by having more than one macronutrient (carbs, fats, protein) at each snack!

As a dietitian, I recommend choosing at least one protein source and then a carb/fat source (or both). 

Some great combo snack examples:

  • Vegetables and hummus
  • Fruit and peanut butter
  • Avocado and whole-grain toast with smoked salmon slices
  • Greek yogurt and nuts
  • Jerky, cheese, and whole-grain crackers

I have other great snack ideas and travel hacks in my latest blog post on balanced eating while traveling!

Building healthy snacks doesn’t have to be difficult. Listen to your body and choose your ingredients based on what you enjoy and what makes you feel good!

Focus on nutritious snacks that have lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These will keep you satisfied for longer and help prevent overeating later on. 

If you are having trouble creating a list of snacks you enjoy eating that are also nutrient-dense, schedule an appointment with me for nutrition coaching today. 


Balanced Eating While Traveling: 4 Tips That Can Help

Traveling for a vacation or business conference can often lead to feelings of stress or being overwhelmed over what types of food to eat and what you will have access to.

However, traveling is supposed to be exciting and food can be a memorable part of the trip! 

In this article, I will be going over some of my best quick tips as a registered dietitian to reduce your stress about food and help you better manage balanced eating while on the road!

Use these four tips below to help yourself feel prepped and ready to go with your travel nutrition before your next trip. 

1. Plan Your Food Stops Ahead of Time

Planning your food stops ahead of time can help save you both time and stress when trying to decide where to eat and find food that fits your lifestyle.

  • Markets: You can find a lot of healthy food options in markets during your travels. Look for foods like hummus, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, sandwiches, and salads.
  • Local Delis: When eating at the local delis on your trip, choose whole-grain breads, and leaner proteins (like turkey and chicken), and load up on the lettuce and tomatoes for your sandwiches! To create a more balanced meal, opt for a veggie-heavy side such as celery sticks and peanut butter. 
  • Fast Food: Does your trip location only have fast food options available? Don’t panic! You can still find healthier options to manage more balanced eating here too. Look at the menus’ nutrient analysis online ahead of time to pick foods that are lower in sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars.
    • A few ideas are: grilled chicken patties, yogurt parfaits, protein-style burgers, chili/soup with whole-grain crackers
  • Restaurants: Trust me, you don’t have to get a salad for every meal while on vacation in order to eat more balanced! There are a ton of ways to continue to choose more balanced options like: 
    • Selecting vegetables as a side item
    • Adding a side salad with dressing on the side
    • Asking the restaurant to season your food with herbs/spices instead of salt or cook with olive oil instead of butter

2. Pack the Non-Perishable Foods

Snacks are a must-have when traveling! Be prepared for any trip by packing these healthier non-perishable foods:

  • Whole fruits (apples, bananas, oranges)
  • Beef jerky and Babybel cheeses
  • Pre-portioned nuts and seeds
  • Whole-grain crackers or pretzels
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond)
  • Protein granola bars (hint: look for bars that have at least 10 grams of protein and little to no added sugars)
  • Pre-made trail mix

Bonus tip:

  • Buying pre-portioned food options can sometimes get pricey. If you are looking to save on costs and have the extra time, buy the food in bulk at Costco or Sam’s club and portion it into baggies yourself. 

3. Choose Foods from the 5 Main Food Groups

If you’re having a hard time trying to keep your eating balanced, think through your meal choices by comparing them to the five main food groups for healthy nutrition.

If you are mindful of what you are eating and how much you are eating, chances are your meals will be more balanced. Focus on eating meals and snacks that contain at least two of these healthy food groups.

  1. Fruits (examples: strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, blueberries)
  2. Vegetables (examples: cucumbers, celery, carrots, lettuce, spinach, bell peppers)
  3. Lean Proteins (examples: eggs, chicken, fish, turkey, beans, organic tofu)
  4. Whole Grains (examples: whole grain bread/crackers, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice)
  5. Low-Fat Dairy (examples: string cheese, greek yogurt, low fat milk)

For snacks:

As a dietitian, I typically recommend my clients pair a protein with a carb/fat source for a balanced snack that will keep you full and satisfied. 

Check out one of my most recent Instagram posts that goes over six different balanced snack ideas while traveling!

4. Identify What Food Storage You Have Access to on the Trip

Identifying what food storage you will have access to while traveling can be a huge game-changer that is often overlooked. Make sure to call your hotel or Air BnB ahead of time to figure out what options you have while on your trip!

  • Refrigerator/Mini-fridge: Do you have access to a fridge? Great! Keep quick foods on hand so that you can easily access them when you are hungry at your hotels. Stocking up on some of the foods mentioned above is a great way to add more balance to your eating habits on the go.
  • Coolers: Going on a road trip? Taking a cooler is a great way to keep snacks and drinks cool during your adventures. Stock your cooler with water bottles, smoothies, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, greek yogurt cups, and more! 
  • Storage Containers/Bags: Packing storage containers can be helpful when on a trip so that you can save your leftovers for another day to help with prepping for later and proper portion control. This will save you money and help prevent food waste, so it’s a win-win! 

Balanced Eating Takeaways

The most important thing to remember when traveling is to have fun! Don’t let yourself become too stressed about food choices that could ruin your trip. Also, don’t forget to hydrate!

Keeping these four tips in mind will help you enjoy a trip full of balanced eating and still have a good time! So make sure to save this post for later. 

If you need some additional support and help with your nutrition, reach out to me, and let’s chat! I am currently accepting clients for my nutrition coaching program

Do you have a favorite travel nutrition tip or travel snack? Comment below!


Is Cold Brew Coffee Better for You?

Hot Coffee – Iced Coffee – Cold brew . . . what is the difference?

So to begin, lets talk about the science. Recent studies have come out showing the health benefits of drinking coffee and its effects on cardiovascular health. A lot of the research shows coffee helping to decrease heart disease, decrease inflammation in the body and protect against chronic disease. Why all of the sudden a change in the research? Well researchers found many problems in existing studies within the control groups related to other behaviors, like smoking, drinking and not sleeping well, which all contribute to higher risks of chronic disease.

The new research, in a more controlled group, is pointing to coffee being healthy for us. This comes at no surprise if you know that a coffee bean is actually rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that help fight against disease.

Now the question, is cold brew better for you than traditional coffee? Do you know the difference?

  • Hot coffee – traditionally brewed between 180-185 degrees; depending on the brewing method, the coffee is in contact with water anywhere from 20 seconds to 5 minutes
  • Iced coffee – same method as hot coffee except its brought down to cold temperature and served over ice
  • Cold brew – made by steeping coffee grounds in cool water for an extended period of time, usually, overnight. Cold brew is never heated

Since we know the difference now, which is better for you? Today, there are no studies to support the health claims of a cold brewed coffee. Research is funny because we can think something makes sense from one perspective but you go and test it out and it proves the opposite sometimes. With that being said, hot and iced coffees are typically a little more acidic due to the heating process. This may be a little harsher for somebody who suffers from GERD or acid reflux (which many of my family members do). Cold brew is less acidic since it was never heated and due to the steeping process, it’s naturally a smoother consistency making it easier to drink black.

You’ve got the facts!  Go enjoy any of these choices with a small amount of milk and sugar if you need any at all. I personally like cream and sugar in my hot coffee in the morning and I enjoy a nice cold brew with nothing in it. How do you like your coffee?

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