Staying hydrated is always a challenge, but it gets harder in the summer as the weather gets warmer and we spend more time sweating in the sun. Drinking all eight cups can be a hard habit to build (not to mention a total bore to execute), so our solution is simple: Eat your water! Since 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from food, it's a totally valid strategy. These recipes make it easy, so happy hydrating!
Grapefruit, pear, orange, mango, and strawberries are all water-filled fruits. Greek yogurt is also about 80 percent water, and chia seeds help the body soak it all in. Illian TG, Casey JC, Bishop PA. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 2011, May.;25(1):1533-4287. After all that, the avocado adds some healthy fats to fill you up.
A juicy apple makes for a healthy base in this adorable stacked sandwich. Layer in almond butter, chia seeds, honey, and dried cranberries (or sub in your favorite nut butter and dried fruit to customize).
Soaking chia and buckwheat overnight is key to making this flavorful raw breakfast porridge. With apple, pineapple, and papaya for an extra dose of H20, this dish is great for any busy morning
Jicama (a mild veggie similar to water chestnuts) and carrots (which contain around 87 percent water) add some crunch to this morning-appropriate take on spring rolls. Scrambled eggs add protein, while a peanut hoisin sauce adds a sweet 'n' salty flavor.
Nearly everything in this smoothie packs a big hydration punch. Coconut milk gives this chilly treat flavor and a creamy texture, while mango and spinach are chock-full of water and vitamins A and C.
This fruity orange blend is made with yogurt, which contains tons of water, and, if you opt for Greek instead of plain, tons of extra protein as well.
Making jam is one of our favorite uses for chia seeds. They absorb water (that's why they're a hydrating food!), naturally thickening the peaches and strawberries in this simple recipe. Spread it on toast for a surprising and simple dose of omega-3s.
The oats in this breakfast are cooked in water, giving that serving of oatmeal a little extra hydration power. Oatmeal is one of the most filling breakfasts around, making it perfect for a long day of hiking or swimming (or any other favorite summer activity).
Want to sneak some hydrating superfoods into brunch? While French toast isn't always the healthiest option, millet flour, coconut oil, and almond milk give this recipe a healthier twist, while toppings include hydration heroes such as blueberries, apples, and pears.
Cucumbers are an awesome way to add more water to any diet, but they can be bland. Not in this salad! Vinegar and a little sugar come together for a light, sweet dressing, while spicy roasted chickpeas add flavor, crunch, and protein.
Cubes of watermelon, cucumber, and bell pepper make for an awesomely fresh bowl. And the tequila-spiked dressing? It takes this meal to a whole new level of fun.
Red cabbage is almost entirely water, making it an awesome (and more nutritious) alternative to spinach and lettuce. Cabbage has tons of antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and lots of fiber to keep that tummy happy. It gets bonus points for being colorful.
Raspberries and spinach up the water content in this healthy version of potato salad. It's drizzled with honey, sea salt, and pepper, making it a delicious side for any picnic or barbecue.
Spinach, avocado, and bell pepper are all great, but it's the Greek yogurt-based chipotle lime dressing that really makes this salad stand out. It's an easy, summery go-to.
Kiwis are an unexpected powerhouse—they contain 20 percent more vitamin C than oranges and almost as much potassium as bananas. And they make an unexpected (but delicious) appearance in this triply green dish.
Looking for an excuse to get outside and grill? Eggplant and zucchini both have a high water content, and grilling is a tasty alternative to eating them raw. Chickpeas and feta finish this salad off for a filling lunch.
Because bromelain in pineapple and caffeic acid in cucumber both reduce swelling and inflammation, this is the perfect zesty dish to beat that puffy dehydrated feeling. Stratil P, Klejdus B, Kubán V. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2006, Mar.;54(3):0021-8561. Taussig SJ, Batkin S. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 1988, Jul.;22(2):0378-8741. It also tastes pretty dang good, but we guess that goes without saying.
Watermelon, a favorite summer superfood, packs a lot of nutritious hydration in just a few calories. It's paired with feta, olive oil, and mint in this salad, making it an instant favorite.
Sure, sliced carrots will sneak some hydration into snack time just fine by themselves. But why not impress your friends by rolling up apple, carrot, zucchini, and cucumber into these sushi-style roll-ups instead?
The strawberries, mango, and kiwi in this cute roll-up are tasty and nutritious enough to eat on their own. But sometimes, fun packaging makes all the difference. Wrap it all up in softened rice paper rounds and dip in honey. Goodbye, thirst!
To amp up that midday apple, chop it up and toss with ground cinnamon, walnuts (or whichever nut is your favorite), and raisins. Apples are the hydration star here, while cinnamon can help relieve inflammation and packs a flavor that takes this snack to the next level. Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G. International journal of preventive medicine, 2013, May.;4(Suppl 1):2008-7802.
Strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, and banana are a perfect tropical combination. Once grilled, they're downright festive. If you're sick of munching on plain fruit to get your water fix, this is a great way to mix things up.
Grapes are another really easy and hydrating snack. For summer, pop a bunch in the freezer and enjoy whenever you need to beat the heat and replenish those fluids!
With the addition of garlic, red onion, cilantro, and lime, diced mango and avocado turn into a more hydrating alternative to guacamole or super-salty store-bought salsa.
This is the gourmet way to enjoy that big, juicy slice of watermelon. Strawberries provide fruity hydration, while basil and goat cheese add some class. Finally, a drop of honey pulls it all together by adding just a touch of sweetness.
Applesauce contains just about as much water as apples themselves —and homemade is always better! Raspberries add a seasonal spin and an extra sweet, extra fruity touch.
If you've never tried fruit salsa, summer is the perfect time. This one's just asking to be dug into with chips or spooned over a burrito bowl, don't you think?
Soup is one of the best vehicles for getting more water into your diet, but who wants to dig into a steaming hot bowl in this heat? Gazpacho is the solution. The cucumber and green pepper make this one particularly thirst quenching and totally refreshing.
Pasta salad is a picnic table staple for a reason. This one is made with orzo, and the addition of diced cucumber and lemon juice make it a super hydrating option.
Stuffed peppers turn a water-rich vegetable into a substantial meal. Fill 'er up with a combo of lentils and couscous for a protein-rich, texture-heavy meal.
Tomatoes, tomato juice, red pepper, and cucumber blend together in a flavorful, cool, and filling dinner. Word of warning though: This recipe makes so much soup, it'll just barely fit in a 64-ounce blender. If you're using something smaller to blend, mix it up in batches.
The fresh ingredients in Vietnamese food give it the right flavors for the hottest months of the year. The shrimp on this salad make it filling enough for a full meal, while all those veggies and greens increase the water content.
Dehydrated? These peppers will do the trick. We love them as is or with a bag of watercress added into the stuffing. (It has water in the name, people!)
When you've just gotta fill that taco craving, romaine lettuce is a smart substitute to a corn tortilla. It's almost entirely water, but will hold your food together and still give you that satisfying crunch.
Watermelon salsa supplies a sweet touch to the savory flavors in these fish tacos. And hey—you could also change it up by topping the tacos with another one of the other fresh salsa recipes from above.
Roasting the berries before assembling these yogurt pops makes them extra creamy. Try the recipe with your favorite berries and feel free to up the amount of lemon juice (and add less honey) if you prefer your desserts more tangy than sweet.
Berries are one of the best (and best-tasting) ways to eat your water. The only sugar in this sweet treat comes from nature, so it's much better for you than most store-bought options.
We usually don't recommend booze if you're trying to stay hydrated. But the water-filled honeydew and cucumber in these bad boys makes up for the little splash of tequila. Right?
It's all about those chia seeds! Blood orange gives this a pretty color, but regular oranges or even grapefruit are all close to 90 percent water and would work just as well in this tart pudding.
On their own, frozen blueberries are a great summer snack. But skewered and covered in frozen Greek yogurt, they're as tasty as your favorite ice cream treat—and much more effective at keeping your body full of water.
Since Jello is mostly water, it seems to be the perfect choice for a hydrating dessert. However, the stuff from the box can be pretty high in sugar. Try this at-home version made with real grapefruit and unflavored gelatin instead. Since grapefruit is mostly water, you're pretty much just eating, um, water!
All that's in these homemade popsicles is strawberries, yogurt, all-natural sweetener (choose between honey, maple syrup, or agave—or just leave it out), and banana. They're fruity, sweet, and perfect for a hot day.
Kiwi is low in sugar but high in fiber, and coconut water has been known to help replenish electrolytes and sugars after you sweat a lot (in other words, all summer long). Kalman DS, Feldman S, Krieger DR. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2012, Jan.;9(1):1550-2783. Frozen into popsicle form, this is one powerful pair.
Originally published June 2012. Updated June 2015 and June 2017.