These healthy thirst-quenchers are a triple threat: refreshing, tasty, and hydrating. 
Advertisement
Watermelon juice
Credit: Flavia Morlachetti/Getty Images

What does it mean to be hydrated? Generally speaking, your hydration status is the percentage of your body composed of water, usually around 60 percent, says Phillip Kadaj, M.D., FACP, an internal medicine physician at MyMichigan Internal Medicine. Each day, we need to replace the amount of water we lose through sweating, urinating, and, yep, even breathing. According to Dr. Kadaj, aiming to drink about 64 ounces of water each day is a good general hydration guideline—however, that number can be lower or higher from person to person, depending on how active you are, your body type, or the climate you live in. 

We're all aware that staying hydrated leads to an active, healthy life—and that being dehydrated is a surefire way to invite headaches, cravings, and fatigue—but in reality, getting in those ounces of H2O can feel like an uphill battle. No small issue: A lot of people think plain water can get pretty boring, making it a less intriguing beverage choice at mealtimes and throughout the day. 

The good news? Hydration can be delicious—and (dare we say?) even fun! There are tons of super-hydrating, flavorful bevs out there that offer some much-needed variety, quench thirst, and help you hit your daily hydration goals. Read on for registered dietitians' top recommended drinks for hydration, for when you need a healthy upgrade to that flat glass of water.

Kale-Apple Smoothie
Credit: Grant Cornett

1 Green Smoothies

Kale-Apple Smoothie Recipe

Blend your favorite greens into a naturally water-packed smoothie—the perfect post-workout breakfast or mid-afternoon pick-me-up that's chock full of nutrients. To begin, Amanda Sauceda, M.S., R.D., recommends gathering spinach, kale, and lettuce, all of which have a high water content. Then, add your preferred type of milk—cow's, almond, cashew, or oat are all excellent—and top with a scoop of protein powder and/or nut butter for heartiness. You'll get a powerful one-two punch of hydration and protein in one glass.

boozy-watermelon-slushie
Credit: Getty Images

2 Watermelon Juice

Watermelon Slushie Recipe

Aptly named, watermelon is an extremely hydrating food choice, coming in at 92 percent water, says Tara Tomaino, R.D., nutrition director at The Park. You can always snack on watermelon as is, but for a fruity, summery treat, blend watermelon with ice, water, and a squeeze of lime juice for a frosty homemade slushie—no sugar needed. (Skip the alcohol and sugar in this recipe here for fruit-first, any-time-of-day hydration). "Watermelon is also a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables, and research has associated lycopene consumption with reductions in blood pressure among other health benefits," Tomaino adds.

Mango Turmeric Smoothie
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

3 Coconut Water

Mango-Turmeric Smoothie

Whether you purchase a liter at the grocery store or buy a fresh one at the beach, coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and manganese, says Hayley Miller, M.S., RDN, L.D., senior registered dietitian nutritionist at Persona. We all need to replenish these electrolytes regularly, especially after any excess fluid loss (serious sweating, post-Saturday-night dehydration, and so on). "When you exercise, or just go about your daily routine, you naturally lose electrolytes in your sweat, making it harder for your body to retain water," she explains. "Coconut can help replace these and restore a good balance."

But a word of caution to read labels and be choosy with coconut water, since many supermarket brands pack in the added sugar for taste. Miller says that coconut water high in sugar will actually have the opposite impact and dehydrate you. Make sure to read your labels carefully.

Try adding coconut water to this anti-inflammatory mango-turmeric smoothie for a healthy hit of hydration.

RELATED: How to Make a Margarita That's Actually Hydrating

Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca
Credit: Greg DuPree

4 Agua Fresca

Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca Recipe

Looking for a better-for-you alternative to those (sadly) very dehydrating cocktails? Make happy hour delightfully hydrating with an agua fresca, says Sauceda, a popular drink in Mexico and Central America made simply by blending together fruit and water and sometimes a sweetener (like sugar, agave, or honey). Whirl up your favorite fruit, some water, and some fresh lime juice for brightness. "You can even make this drink good for your gut by sprinkling in chia seeds for a little fiber or sweetening with honey, which is a prebiotic food," she adds.

Celery, Cucumber, and Pineapple Smoothie
Credit: Levi Brown

5 Cucumber Juice

Celery, Cucumber, Pineapple Smoothie Recipe

Cucumber is another hydration powerhouse at a whopping 96 percent water—the highest water content of any food! You can cut this veggie into slices for easy eating and water infusions, blend it with water or press into a juice for a refreshing sip. "A vegetable that hydrates you more than your regular glass of water is perfect as a snack," says Kristel de Groot, plant-based certified health coach and the cofounder of Your Super.

Homemade Chicken Stock
Credit: Greg DuPree

6 Bone Broth

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

When you stayed home from school with the sniffles as a kid, did your parents ply you with chicken soup, miso soup, or really any type of soup? When we're sick, we're often quite dehydrated, and bone broth can rehydrate and replenish what our bodies need to help us feel better, explains Eduardo Dolhun, M.D., practicing family physician in San Francisco and founder of DripDrop. "Clear-broth soups are typically high in sodium content while also providing a good base of hydration through water, making them a great option," Dr. Dolhun says.

healthy-midnight-snacks

7 Non-Fat Cow's Milk

You read that right: A glass of milk can do wonders for hydration. Tomaino explains that milk's carbohydrate, protein, and electrolyte content can be particularly effective for rehydrating after working out. "When the goal is to replenish and recover after exercise, milk can provide fluid as well as nutrients that aid in muscle recovery," she says. "Choose plain, non-fat (skim) milk to keep the sugar content low." If you've had a particularly long training session or spent a long time out in the hot sun, chocolate milk can also be a good choice, being mindful not to go overboard since chocolate milk does contain more sugar than plain.

Mason Jar Iced Tea
Credit: Grace Elkus

8 Tea (or Iced Tea)

Cold-Brew Iced Tea Recipe

You won't be surprised to learn that hot tea and iced tea are excellent hydrators—tea is a water-based beverage after all! 

RELATED: Does Drinking Coffee Really Dehydrate You? We Asked Dietitians

Blackberry Yogurt Pops
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

9 Homemade Yogurt Ice Pops

OK, this is technically not a drink, but it's too delicious to leave off the list. On hot summer days, you may find yourself craving something chilly and sweet. Instead of shaking up a sugary cocktail or running to the ice cream truck, Sauceda recommends making homemade yogurt ice pops. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics and high in water, so this secretly healthy treat boasts gut health, hydration, and even some protein.

10 Electrolyte Mixes

Rather than reaching for a sugar-filled electrolyte beverage that's loaded with empty calories and doesn't provide adequate hydration, consider a powdered option. Add a pack or tablet to cold water (or coconut water), let it dissolve, and then drink. Tomaino explains that many of these mixes contain a combination of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, plus other nutrients, to help facilitate water entering the bloodstream faster than water alone.

"When shopping for this product, check the ingredient list for natural forms of sugar and be sure to follow the directions for mixing with water to get the most effective ratio of electrolytes to water," she says.