Practical and Budget-Friendly Steps for Staying Healthy and Hydrated.
Growing up, I was not a water drinker. Even when I did start drinking it in early adulthood, I could easily get sidetracked because caffeine of some sort always took priority. Now, my drink selection is made up of herbal tea, 96 ounces of water a day, almond milk as part of my smoothie and the occasional glass of wine thrown in for good measure. If you’re thinking that 96 ounces of water sounds like it would be impossible to drink in one day, I can tell you that it really isn’t if I follow the simple routine that I’ve set for myself. Because I often have people asking me what that routine is or how I drink so much water, I wanted to share these 10 practical and budget-friendly tips for drinking more water that will help you stay healthy and hydrated.
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How Much Water Do We Need?
Before we get to how to drink more water, it’s important to have a fairly good idea of how much we actually need. While this varies from person to person, there are general guidelines that are helpful to follow with most of them coming in quite a bit higher than the eight 8-ounce glasses a day or 64 ounces rule. I got my 96 ounces amount by following the advice of Dr. Brooke Goldner when I spoke with her about her journey from disease to health. That is an amount that definitely works well for me.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Mayo Clinic follow the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s recommendation of about 11.5 cups per day (92 ounces) for women. Approximately 20 percent of that usually comes from food1,. That means that we need to make sure that we’re drinking at least 74-80 ounces of water a day.
Tips for Drinking More Water
Here are my tips for how to drink more water.
1. Get a 40-ounce water bottle
This is a crucial part of how I drink so much water every day. I know exactly how much is in my water bottle, and I know that it takes filling it up twice a day to get the majority of what I need. For me, the simpler that I can make things, the more likely they are to happen. Drinking two bottles is much easier for me to think about than six glasses.
While the initial cost of investing in a good stainless steel water bottle may seem a little steep compared to the price of a soda or some other drink, just think about the fact that you’re going to use this bottle over and over again for years. There’s simply no comparison when it comes to cost. A re-usable bottle is the way to go. My favorite water bottle is Klean Kanteen’s Classic Stainless Steel 40-ounce Water Bottle (Affiliate Link).
2. Sync drinking water with daily activities
If you sync drinking water with your daily activities, it simply becomes a regular part of your routine. For example, drink while you exercise; drink after every time you go to the bathroom (but not past 8 or 9pm); and drink water with every meal.
3. Drink 16 ounces first thing in the morning
Fill your 40-ounce water bottle first thing and drink nearly half of it within half an hour of waking up. Trust me, it’s a great way to help you feel good in the morning, and it puts you well on your way to achieving your goal of drinking more water.
4. Drink 40 ounces by Noon
In addition to my 40-ounce water bottle, this is my second most important step in being able to drink so much water. If you drink at least 40 ounces by Noon, getting the rest in during the afternoon and early evening is a breeze. My general routine is to drink 40 ounces by Noon, my second 40 ounces by 5:30 p.m. and then have water for dinner. This makes sure that I’m spacing it out throughout the day, which lends itself to less frequent and more predictable bathroom breaks.
5. Flavor water with fruit
If you aren’t already a water drinker, adding fruit may give you the flavor that you’re looking for to be inspired. Many people add lemon slices to their water, which is delicious in and of itself, but don’t forget that you can add other fruit as well. I like raspberries, strawberries and even kiwi. Once you get used to the more toned down, natural flavor of fruit in your water, you may find that drinking it without anything in it is more enjoyable as well.
6. Replace at least one soda or other drink with water
If you usually drink soda, coffee or anything else with sugar or caffeine in it throughout the day, replace at least one of those with water. This is a great way to drink more water overall and to give your bank account a boost. Drinking water is so much cheaper than other drinks that if you do this on a daily basis, the amount that you save will really start to add up.
7. Drink water 30 minutes before eating
Drinking water 30 minutes before eating is a good idea for both snacks and meals. In fact, a study published by The Obesity Society in 2009 shows that drinking water before a meal lowers the amount of calories consumed while eating2. In other words, drinking water before eating makes you feel full and less likely to overeat. Along the same lines, if you start to feel hungry mid-morning or mid-afternoon, try drinking it before snacking. Wait 15 minutes or so and then see if you’re still feeling hungry. If so, have a healthy snack.
8. Eat foods high in water content
Eating foods high in water content is an easy way to drink more water. Strawberries, watermelon, peaches and oranges are some of the fruits with a high water content. When it comes to vegetables, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes and spinach are good options3,4,5,6,7.
9. Drink herbal tea with no caffeine
This is my personal preference speaking here. Yes, coffee and caffeinated tea and any other beverages made with water count toward your overall water intake8, but I’m always going to advocate for as little caffeine as possible. In my book, herbal tea is like flavored water with many health benefits.
10. Set alarm for drinking water every hour
If you really need to kickstart your water drinking habit, setting an hourly alarm is a good reminder. This is a good way to space your water consumption throughout the day.
The bottom line on drinking more water is that once you start doing it, you will likely find that it’s easier than you thought it would be and more naturally what you want on a daily basis. If you use any of these tips to help you get started, be sure and let us know how it’s going in the comments below.
- Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. How Much Water Do You Need?https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-much-water-do-you-need
- Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Comber DL, Flack KD, Savla J, Davy KP, Davy BM. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18(2):300-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.235. Epub 2009 Aug 6. PMID: 19661958; PMCID: PMC2859815. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19661958/
- NutritionData. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2477/2
- NutritionData. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2439/2
- NutritionData. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2639/2
- NutritionData. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2682/2
- NutritionData. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2626/2
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. Water. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/water/