In the heat of summer, hydration definitely becomes a concern, especially with increased physical activity. Consuming the appropriate amount of fluids for your body is important before, during and after your workout. How much is right for you? Well there are two somewhat unsavory but simple ways to measure fluid intake:

  • Urine color. The color of your urine is an overall indicator of hydration status. Straw or lemonade colored urine is a sign of appropriate hydration. Dark colored urine, the color of apple juice, indicates dehydration. Bright urine often is produced soon after consuming vitamin supplements, since any excess vitamins are immediately excreted.
  • Sweat loss. Change in your body weight before and after exercise is used to estimate sweat loss. If you are working out hard, with excessive sweat happening, you undoubtedly need to focus on fluid replacement. However, dehydration can occur even when you are not hot and sweaty. You can become dehydrated from swimming or skiing on a cold winter day. Weighing yourself before exercise, then again post-hydration will let you know if you are adequately hydrated.

What to hydrate with? When exercising less than an hour, water is best. For workouts longer than an hour, you should replace fluid loss with liquids containing electrolytes — but skip the excess sugar. Go for the sugar-free brands and continue to consume water in between.

One of the most tasty and refreshing ways to stay hydrated is watermelon🍉. Watermelon is one of the most iconic fruits of summer. It is comprised of about 90% water, along with some natural sugars, making it quite useful to stay hydrated, as well as to satisfy a sweet tooth. Watermelon has an undeserved reputation for being high in sugar. It is not high in sugar, but it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients and electrolytes, including Vitamin C, lycopene, choline, potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron and even some calcium. These large fruits are quite nutrient-dense, along with their hydrating capacity.

Native to tropical Africa, watermelons are grown commercially in the U.S. in more tropical states like Texas, Florida, Georgia and California where the weather is warm, providing watermelon with its needed lengthy growing season. Watermelons have various rind colorings, from solid green, green striped, or mottled with white. They can be round or oval in shape and weigh as much as 30 pounds (perhaps a new workout class, Watermelon Pump ;). The crisp, crunchy flesh is usually a deep pink, although golden-fleshed varieties are always a fun surprise. Watermelons naturally contain small, hard, black seeds, but seedless hybrids are available (not genetically modified!).

Watermelon nutrition facts: 1 cup diced watermelon: 45 calories, 0 fat, 12 grams carbs, 9 grams sugar, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein, 11 mg of calcium and 170 mg of potassium. The whole watermelon is actually edible, including the seeds and the rind…but I did not include those parts in these refreshing, hydrating, sweet recipes😊

Photo by California Avocado

WATERMELON SALSA

Summer fruits lend themselves well to delicious twists on salsa (like our Blueberry Salsa in volume 9). This one is juicy and peppery and takes full advantage of seasonal watermelon, avocado and jalapeño pepper.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups seeded and diced watermelon
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
3 Tablespoons lime juice (about the juice from one lime)
1/2 teaspoon chili paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or try mint or basil)
freshly ground pepper to taste

PREPARATION
Combine all ingredients together in a medium-size mixing bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately. Any leftovers really will not keep overnight, so eat up :). Makes 8–10 (1/4 cup) servings.

Suggest serving with baked tortilla chips or pita chips.

WATERMELON AND FETA SALAD
I was going to call this watermelon and fed-up salad🤭. The reason being it was so popular at one point, I actually found it annoying to be present on so many menus. Until I decided to give in and try it. The juicy, sweet watermelon, and briny, salty feta cheese turned out to be a delicious combination. I would say who knew, but people surely knew😌, and for good reason. I added some kick to this surprisingly satisfying combination.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your kick tolerance)
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, washed and chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION
Place watermelon and feta in medium serving bowl and carefully mix together. In a small bowl whisk oil, honey, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and salt together. Pour on top of watermelon and feta and combine. Top with fresh basil and any additional herbs and spices of choices. Makes 4 (1/2 cup) appetizer or 2 (1 cup) side-dish servings.

WATERMELON BANANA SHAKE
It is summer and sometimes all we can rightfully manage is throwing some ingredients in a blender, and calling it breakfast or snack time. The banana and yogurt add a creamy sensation to the watermelon. A tasty and hydrating way to start your day.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
2 frozen bananas, cut into quarters
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, vanilla
1 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons honey

PREPARATION
Place all ingredients in the blender. Process until smooth. Pour into 4 cups and garnish with watermelon and/or banana slice. Makes 4 (1 cup) servings.

Photo by The Black Label

BLOOD ORANGE PROSECCO
I often discuss with clients how you can not always have alcohol + dessert. Sometimes, sure…but not all the time. I love this recipe as it blends your cocktail and dessert — two for one! Campari adds a strong bittersweet orange zing. Experiment with how bitter you want to go.

INGREDIENTS
1 scoop sorbet (1/2 cup), any flavor
1/2 ounce vodka
1/4 ounce Campari
4 ounces Prosecco

Garnish options: lemon, mint, and orange

PREPARATION
Place all ingredients in the blender. Process until smooth. Pour into glass and garnish. Makes 1 serving. Cheers.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~Dalai Lama

For comments, thoughts, requests or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: amysmargulies@gmail.com

A nutrition expert and middle child, I am writing to promote health and wellbeing, recipes and tips in a relatable, slightly rebellious fashion.