Maintaining proper hydration is crucial for maximizing athletic performance. However, many young athletes tend to overlook their daily water intake and opt for sugary sports drinks as an alternative. While water is typically seen as the sole choice for hydration, there are many tasty alternatives available. By introducing flavorful, water-rich foods into your athlete’s daily diet, you can ensure they remain adequately hydrated without boring their taste buds.
Five foods that help to maximize hydration
The reality of this topic is that fruits and vegetables contain the highest water levels of any food out there. Of course, depending on the athlete at hand, those could well be the last things they want to hear is being increased in their diet. There are many ways to disguise the foods that kids are picky about though, and we will get into a few of them here.
Comprised of 96 percent water, the cucumber has the highest water content of any food on earth. Because of this, they have a naturally soggy and dull sort of taste. That won’t much help you in convincing your kid to eat them, but there are a couple of easy ways to incorporate their high water content into daily hydration.
Using cucumbers as a water source in smoothies is likely the easiest way to disguise their flavor while unlocking their hydrating powers. Consider a cucumber and blueberry smoothie with a vanilla flavored protein powder to create a densely hydrating and flavorful breakfast or afternoon snack for your athlete. Another easy trick is to slice a cucumber and sprinkle a salt and sugar mix onto it. This will counter the bitterness of the vegetable as well as giving it a crunchier texture to make it more palatable to picky eaters.
This may be the easiest food to incorporate in a kid’s diet to improve hydration. Watermelons consist of approximately 92 percent water and have a naturally sweet flavor—music to a kid’s ears! They are a yummy snack for hot summer days and do a great job of hydrating the body with their large size.
Often called the most hydrating food, celery is actually the second—right behind the cucumber. Made of 95 percent water, celery is an extremely easy veggie to disguise by dressing it up in the classic peanut butter boat style. Take it one step further, and add raisins or almonds to the peanut butter filled celery sticks—hydration and protein in one!
Strawberries are another delicious fruit made of over 90 percent water. Similar to the watermelon, the distinct sweetness of strawberries makes them an easy sell to kids. Fortunately, the naturally occuring sugars in them are minimal so your athlete can have their fill. Creating hydration from what seems like treats is the name of this game.
This can be a tough one if you don’t have a Popeye fan in the house. Leafy greens are rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber, and are typically comprised of over 90 percent water. An easy way to get the nutritional punch of spinach to your athlete without a salad is through smoothies. Much like cucumbers, greens offer a good deal of hydration to blended drinks, so you can lessen your main liquid of choice in the concoction. Additionally, the natural bitterness of spinach will cut back a tad on the sweetness of the berries and other ingredients you include, making for a full-bodied, rich snack.
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