When planning your weekly meals, you want to do more than just look at recipes that seem delicious. It’s important to make sure you stock up on all the right nutrients. Many people view that as the macro and micro nutrients. There is one specific nutrient that people forget about: water.
There are certain foods that are extremely hydrating for the body. The body needs water for all types of functions. A well-hydrated body will function correctly, have good working digestive and immune systems, and glowing skin.
Hydrating foods will also help you feel fuller in a shorter space of time. They help to fill up the stomach with fewer calories, making it easier to lose weight.
So, you want to follow a diet that is full of hydrating foods. When you’re planning your weekly meals, and some of the hydrating foods on this epic list.
Start with Your Cucumbers
The first on the list must be the cucumber. One cucumber is made up of 95% water and 5% fiber. It’s one of the best ingredients when you need something thirst-quenching. It’s technically better than a glass of water. Not only does it offer almost as much water, but it has plenty of fiber to keep your digestive system working. It’s also made up of plenty vitamin C (about 6% of your daily recommended amount of a cup), which will help to boost your immune system.
There are many ways to get cucumber into your diet. The most obvious way is to chop it up into a salad, but this can get boring after a while.
Why not opt for cucumber juice? While most vegetable juices are bad for you because of the natural sugars, cucumbers barely have natural sugars. You may lose the fiber, but you’re just getting all the water that will help to hydrate your body quickly.
You can also make a cucumber dip with yogurt (another ingredient to look out for on this list) or turn it into soup. Cucumber can also be spiralized and used in place of pasta in many dishes.
Stock Up on the Salad Greens
Your salad greens must be added to your weekly shop. You want to enjoy them in a meal at least once a day for all the benefits. You can get whatever salad greens you want. Look out for lettuces, kale, spinach, collards, and much more.
You’ll get just 15 calories in two cups of salad greens. Those 15 calories are mostly made up of water (around 90%), and the rest of the calories are extremely good for you. In fact, you’ll find salad greens on ingredient lists for all types of healthy diets. They’re good to keep your blood sugar levels down, your iron and calcium levels up, and boost your vitamin C intake.
Salad greens are packed with vitamin C, folate, beta carotene, fiber, and much more. They will keep every single order working effectively while boosting the health and look of your skin and eyes.
While you can eat them as part of a salad, you don’t need to. You could blend your greens down into a smoothie, mixed with a few fruits. The benefit of smoothies is you keep all the fiber, meaning your digestive system still gets the support. You won’t release the sugars directly into the blood stream, and you create a drink that feels more hydrating than eating your greens directly.
Salad greens tend to make good bases for most dishes. They can also be turned into dips, sauces, and even stews.
Grab Celery Sticks
There’s belief that celery sticks have negative calories. This isn’t true. You can’t get negative calories in food, but there is some truth to the statement. A stick of celery has just 6 calories. It takes more calories to burn and digest the food than you would gain from eating it. You can see where the idea of negative calories comes from.
The lack of calories is partially due to the water content. A stick of celery has a whopping 95.4% water. The rest of the vegetable is made of fiber. So, not only do you get the water for your body, but you also get plenty of nutrients to support your digestive system and make you feel fuller.
And let’s not overlook the nutrients that you’ll get from the celery sticks. Celery is made up of Vitamins A, K, and C, and folate. You’ll get plenty of help for your immune system, your eye health, and your cell health.
Celery is highly recommended for managing stomach acid levels and heartburn. The pH level helps to neutralize the stomach acid levels, helping to get rid of acid reflux. Of course, it’s also one of the best diet foods.
You don’t just have to snack on a stick of celery, although that is a good option. Try adding some hummus or yogurt to the middle of the celery sticks. You can create a cucumber and yogurt dip for your sticks to make them more appealing. Celery can also be added to stews and soups to bulk them out. Of course, celery juice is a popular option.
Make Sure You Grab In-Season Squash
Whether you love a winter or summer squash, you want to stock up on one in your weekly shop. Squashes are excellent (but overlooked) sources of water. Each squash will have a different water content, but a butternut squash is 88% water.
The benefit of squash is that you can use it in multiple ways. If you boil or steam, you’ll find the squash will take in extra water, making it even better for your body. If you bake a squash, you will lose some of the water content, but not all of it.
Squashes are also packed with vitamin A. In fact, one cup of squash can give you 400% of your daily recommended amount! Vitamin A is commonly overlooked, but necessary for good eye health. You’ll also get plenty of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Your whole body is looked after with this hydrated vegetable.
Enjoy Watermelon When in Season
Watermelon is one of the best summer fruits to stock up on. The name of the fruit should give away just why that is. There isn’t quite the same amount of water as there is in cucumbers, but around 92% of watermelons are made up of water.
While getting the hydration, you’re also getting plenty of other health benefits. The red color is an indication that there is plenty of an antioxidant known as lycopene. This antioxidant helps to protect the body from heart disease and some cancers—yes, this has been proven by studies. Not only are you getting the water content, but you’re putting your heart health first.
Watermelons are extremely easy to enjoy. You can just chop the fruit up into wedges and eat. Pre-cut them and cover with some cling film. It’s possible just to grab and go when you need a slice.
Don’t worry about eating the seeds in watermelons. While you can get some seedless ones, the seeds in watermelons are harmless.
Watermelons can make an excellent cake alternative. Chop the bottom slightly so that it stands up right and then use fruit kebabs to decorate.
Don’t Forget the Strawberries
Another summer fruit to add to your weekly shopping list is a pack of strawberries (or two or three!), as they are made up of 91% water! That’s not all, though. Strawberries are extremely sweet naturally, helping you to curb your sugar cravings and stick to your diet healthily.
While they are filled with natural sugars, those sugars won’t break down into the blood stream quickly. You’ll also get plenty of fiber to help slow down the digestive system and improve the absorption of all the nutrients.
Speaking of nutrients, strawberries are packed with vitamin C and that powerful lycopene antioxidant. You will also get plenty of folates to help with the growth of healthy new cells. Not only do you get the antioxidants and vitamin C to help prevent cells being attacked by free radicals, but you also get the support to grow more new cells.
Let’s face it. Strawberries are a highly popular summer fruit. You can just eat them straight out of the packet. Before you know it, the whole packet will be finished.
You can also eat strawberries in salads or make dessert recipes with them. Blend them down into a smoothie with some bananas to create a nutritious drink.
Finish Off Salads with Papaya
How about some papaya to finish off your salads or desserts? This tropical fruit isn’t quite as good as others already on the list, but it is good. About 88% of a papaya is water, with the rest full of fiber, natural sugars, and other nutrients. You have just 55 calories in a cup of the sugary fruit.
One of the benefits is that it helps to curb your sweet cravings. Like with strawberries, you feel like you’ve eating something sweet and naughty. This means you crave the sweet stuff less throughout the day, making it easier to stick to your diet.
It’s also an orange fruit, meaning that it’s packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. Your immune system is protected, as a papaya will help to fight against free radicals, cancers, and dementia.
You can eat papaya on its own as a snack. It’s also good as a topping on a dessert or chopped up with some nuts, strawberries, and blueberries with a salad.
Make Sure You Eat More Yogurt
Look out for plain yogurt and start stocking up on it. Depending on the type of yogurt you get, it’s possible to find it’s 85% to 88% water. The full-fat options will have more water than the reduced fat options. If you have the calories spare, you want to stock up on the fuller fat options.
Yogurts make excellent desserts. You can add a range of fruits into them. Strawberries and papaya are excellent choices to increase your hydration. However, yogurts can also help to create a smoothie base or even a dip base.
It’s not all about the hydration when it comes to yogurts. The fruit is also full of probiotics. You may have heard a lot about these in recent years. You need to get them, and yogurt is the perfect source.
The gut is full of bacteria. This can be good or bad bacteria, but you want to stock up on the good stuff. While the bad stuff makes you ill, good bacteria will make it easier for your body to absorb all your nutrients. The good stuff keeps your whole digestive system in check, avoiding fungal or yeast infections.
Look out for plain yogurt with “live & active cultures” on the packets. This means the yogurt is packed with the good bacteria.
While fruity yogurts will have the water content, you want to avoid them as much as possible. The fruity yogurts usually have added sugar, which means you end up with extra calories. It’s not worth it when you can make plain yogurt taste sweeter with natural fruits.
There Is Something for All Diets
Whether you want a vegan/vegetarian diet or you can eat anything, there is something for all diets. It’s time to plan your weekly meals with the above list of foods in mind. Stock up on the salad greens, celery, and cucumber for your light, watery, filling main meals and side dishes. Don’t forget about papaya and strawberries for your dessert.
You can cook the ingredients above in so many ways. Purposely look out for recipes that include them, whether they’re juices, smoothies, or even main meals.
When you get hydrating foods, you will continue to keep your organs working properly. We tend not to drink enough glasses of water (finding them boring), but eating hydrating foods makes up for that.