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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Make a SPLASH -Fun Ways to Enjoy Water

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Make a SPLASH -Fun Ways to Enjoy Water

Water can be enjoyed from the inside out! Whether it’s at the beach, the pool or filtered and chilled in a cup, make H20 an important part of your day.

Water makes a splash in any shape or form. As the weather heats up, it’s time to give some thought to water! Not only is it vitally important for our health, it’s also a source of fun and exercise!

Why is water important for us?

Staying hydrated is important because for most of us, it makes up 60 to 70% of total body weight. It aids in metabolism and gives shape to our cells. How much you should drink depends on physical activity and the weather but on average, 2.2 liters of water should be consumed daily -see age specific water guidelines for more details. Not a big fan of plain old water?  Here are some ways to get your fill:

  • Drink tea! Herbal teas and non-sweetened iced teas are great ways to sneak in water without feeling like you’re actually drinking it.  For coffee lovers, moderate amounts of coffee whether decaffeinated or regular can contribute to hydration. Moderate is defined as 3-5, 8-ounce cups of regular strength coffee per day.
  • Eat your water. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies contain water: think strawberries, grapefruit, lettuce, jicama, cucumbers, radishes, celery…the list is endless. You’ll hydrate and get great nutrients and fiber as well. Try these 15 water infusion combination recipes.
  • Make homemade popsicles! You just need a mold, some water, and a fruit of your choice. It’s a refreshing treat and easy snack that will keep you hydrated. Looking to make your popsicles more exciting? Check out our recipes for these frozen yogurt fruit pops.
  • Attention grown-ups, go “one-for-one”: if you’re going out for a night on the town and cocktails are a part of the plan, have a glass of water for every alcoholic or sugar-filled beverage you drink. This will reduce the dehydrating effects of alcohol. And moderation is key, US dietary guidelines recommend 1 drink a day for women, and 2 for men. It is also recommended that those who do not drink alcohol should not start.
  • Make it a part of your morning ritual: pour a glass of water before bed, set it on the nightstand, and drink it when you wake up. Add half a lemon or lime to add a burst of refreshing citrus to your morning. Do it for 5 days, and watch it become a habit.
  • Liven up plain water with these fruit and veggie water coolers.
  • Buy a water bottle and make it your best friend! Take it with you wherever you go to help you remember to hydrate throughout the day.
  • Mix your own! If you’re trying to kick a sugary drinks habit, add water to juice, sweetened tea, lemonade, etc. Eventually, you’ll get accustomed to the milder flavor and will grow to enjoy just the barest hint of flavor.

What can you do with the outdoors in water?

Just as our bodies need it on the inside, the outside can take advantage of the fun and exercise that water provides! Here are some great ways to make the most of summertime fun.

  • Pool Party. If you have a pool in your backyard, use it! Swim laps, see how long you can hold your breath while swimming under water, put on music and do squats, leg lifts and arm circles, or just splash around with friends and family! Been invited to a pool party? Be sure to be a great guest by bringing along your own towels as well as healthy snacks for everyone to enjoy. And don’t forget to offer to keep an eye on the kids. Find a local swim club and become a member or check out the local community pool. Don’t forget your sunscreen and drinking water.
  • Beach Time! If you live near the coast or a lake, gear up for some beach fun! Create those happy memories by setting safe but attainable goals –like reaching the lake dock. I still remember swimming with my Aunt who is over 80 now, from dock to dock, with the ultimate goal of making it all the way to the public beach. We could have easily swim back inland but it was a great sense of accomplishment and a fun memory to reach our goal!  Bring boogie boards, life vests, and don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen!
  • Who needs a pool or beach? Make your yard water-iffic by turning on the sprinkler or setting up water toys, like a slip and slide. Just watching kids squealing in delight or surprise as they get blasted running or leaping through the sprinkler spray is fun in itself. Add inexpensive balloons, or water guns and you’ve got the stuff that makes for lasting childhood memories! I still remember water balloon fights that often escalated to buckets and hoses, and uncontrollable laughter after soaking an unsuspected family member!
  • Visit the local waterpark and remember to pack healthy food –here’s some food tips for day trips.
  • For the truly adventurous, try white water rafting. This can teach your family how to work as a team and be a great refreshingly cool work-out. You can also find local streams or a creek where you can go tubing or wade knee deep in the water exploring -just make sure to find out about local regulations as some water play can disrupt natural habitat.  Check out our 6 Weeks of Summer Fun and Summer Family Activities.

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About the Author

Picture of Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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