Hydration & Health

Sara Dow is a ACE Certified Weight Management and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She is also a ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Small Group Trainer at the Y. Twice a month, her blog posts will feature nutrition education, a healthy recipe she has tried and loves, and tips to help you achieve your health goals, as well as answers centered around a nutrition question from a Y member.

If you experience afternoon energy slumps, dehydration may be the cause. Before you reach for a snack, try one of the suggestions below.  Not only does adequate hydration promote weight management, but it also helps to prevent headaches and muscle fatigue, aids digestion, and even boosts your mood! 

Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated.

Choose water (tap, bottled, or sparkling) over flavored, sugary drinks.  Plain water has zero calories, zero caffeine, and — with very few exceptions — is safe due to stringent regulations in the United States.

Need more flavor? Add berries, watermelon cubes, fresh mint, citrus, lime, lemon, or cucumber slices. Or freeze 100% juice in an ice cube tray and use the cubes for chilled water.

Miss fizzy drinks?  Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.

Water just won’t do? Reach for drinks that contain essential nutrients such as low-fat or fat-free milk; unsweetened, fortified plant milk; or 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

At the coffee shop?  Ask for a drink with low-fat or fat-free milk, an unsweetened milk alternative such as soy or almond, or get back to basics with black coffee or herbal tea.

At the store?  Skip the flavored vitamin water and fill your cart with juicy fruits and vegetables. Melons, berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and bell pepper are more than 90% water and provide an abundance of essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  Check out this article by a registered dietitian for more hydrating foods.

What you drink is as essential to your health as what you eat. Read the Nutrition Facts label to choose drinks low in calories, added sugars, and saturated fat.

A Hydrating Recipe…

Summer Refresher by Sara Dow

This low-calorie refresher is high in fiber and electrolytes.  Kid tested and approved! 


  • 1 cup frozen watermelon chunks
  • ½ cup sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup coconut water

Preparation: Process in a high-powered blender for one minute or until smooth.

Yield: 12 oz.

Nutrition information:  Watermelon is 92% water, providing delicious, low-calorie hydration.  Cucumber is rich in fiber and vitamin K — a powerful disease-fighting combination.  Prepare with coconut water for a post-workout electrolyte boost or plain water for pure hydration.

Check out this Resource…

Visit the USDA Water, Hydration, and Health page for recommendations on daily water intake and tips for foods and beverages to help you hydrate.

About Sara Dow

Hi, I’m Sara and I am passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through the knowledge and practice of good nutrition.  

In 2018, I was inspired by the YMCA community to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a registered dietitian. I am now in my senior year, double majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics at Kansas State University.  I am excited to share with you what I am learning. 



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