Let produce help keep you hydrated

Try using fruit and vegetables to help quench your thirst on these hot days.

As temperatures rise, it is very important to keep our bodies hydrated. Whether you are working on a computer, gardening or playing hard, keeping your body hydrated is very important. If you are thirsty, chances are you are already dehydrated. 

There are many ways to keep yourself in top condition to ensure your muscles are working efficiently, you aren’t suffering from swollen feet, experiencing headaches or other heat-related conditions.

Water is the obvious choice, but after a glass or two, it begins to get old and not very inviting. The first idea is to try flavoring water with different kinds of fruit. This can be refreshing and healthier alternative to buying other flavored beverages.

Select one or two types of fruit or vegetables, wash and carefully cut or peel to put into your pitcher or container of water. Place a cup of prepared produce into your pitcher add a herb if you want! Let the mixture steep in the fridge for a few hours, allowing the juices from the produce to blend into the water. Remove the produce and enjoy.

Another idea is to select berries, melon or grapes, wash them and pat dry with paper toweling. Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or other non-breakable dish, place in the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours.  Remove then enjoy a wonderfully sweet, chilly treat!  Try mixing with a low or non-fat yogurt and put into an ice cream cone for another refreshing taste.

Utilizing fruit and vegetables is a wonderful way to stay hydrated. Just enjoying them cut up and chilled can revive a person after a hot bout in the sun. This chart, Water Amounts in Fruits and Vegetables illustrates just how much of many of our favorite produce items are made up from water. For example, strawberries are 92% water, watermelon is 92% water.  Cucumbers are 96% water and carrots are 87% water.  Thinking ahead and having produce cut up and in the fridge can not only quench someone’s thirst it can also add to the much-needed intake of produce many are lacking on a daily basis.

Preparing produce is easy, remember to be a produce pro! The Partnership for Food Safety Education encourages you to follow these safe handling tips to protect yourself and your family from food poisoning:

  • Check your produce for signs of cuts or bruising, where harmful bacteria can breed
  • Clean hands, surfaces and utensils to prevent contamination
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables just before eating
  • Separate produce from raw meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and household chemicals
  • Chill fresh cut produce within two hours to prevent bacteria growth
  • Throw away bruised, damaged or potentially cross-contaminated produce

As you visit your farmers market, local grocer or even your own garden, think about what you can prep ahead to keep on hand in the refrigerator, and make snacking easy.  Having a nice cool snack on hand will hit the spot and keep everyone’s engines running.  Michigan State University Extension recommends washing produce before consuming it and refrigerating it once it has been prepared.  Enjoy these lazy days of summer and stay hydrated.

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