Summer. Just thinking about it makes me thirsty. Be ready this year with a hydration game plan at the ready for keeping taste buds happy and bodies hydrated. Use these 10 tips to get started.

1. Set goals.

Designate the minimum amount of water you’d like to drink each day and give yourself some structure to help remember if you’ve gotten there. An example would be to use 1-quart mason jars and drink four daily.

2. Keep it cold.

If you find you drink more when your beverage stays extra cold, use an insulated stainless steel container that can keep your beverages cold for hours on end. Using these containers also can help cut down on waste from using disposable containers.

3. Drink the good stuff.

No, not from the top shelf, but from your faucet. The majority of your fluid intake should be water, but other beverages can add variety as long as you are making wise choices. Coffee, unsweetened tea, green tea and herbal teas are naturally calorie-free and contain antioxidants that are great for your body.

4. Keep tabs on the less good stuff.

Choose mostly calorie-free beverages while limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices. It’s also best to limit less natural choices like diet soda and calorie-free beverages containing food coloring, additives and artificial sweeteners. However, you may find it helpful to use these products for a time if you need help transitioning away from regular soda, sweet tea or fruit juice.

5. Jazz it up.

Adding flavoring to water can be helpful if you find it difficult to drink enough, plus it’s easy but looks super fancy. Just a simple splash of lemon or lime juice can be helpful, or you can get more adventurous by infusing your water with other flavors like peeled and sliced cucumber, crushed fresh mint leaves or cut strawberries.

6. Boost the nutrition.

Another creative flavoring option is to use Natural Calm brand flavored magnesium powder, which comes in a variety of delicious flavors. It’s an easy way to add more magnesium to your diet while adding a pleasantly sweet and tangy flavor to your water. It can be used as a natural laxative as well (use caution when increasing your daily amount to establish tolerance).

7. Bring on the bubbles.

If you have soda cravings, try drinking carbonated water and using the suggestions above for simple calorie-free flavoring options. Another bubbly and healthy soda alternative is probiotic kombucha tea or Kevita brand sparkling probiotic drinks (found at most large supermarkets). “Live” brand kombucha even has flavors based on popular soda flavors. (My favorite local places to purchase bubbly probiotic drinks are the Brookshire Brothers Gaslight location or the Granary Street in Nacogdoches.)

8. Don’t sweat it.

OK, well, you will sweat if you even think about going outside, walking to your car, or standing in front of a window. So if you have even loftier outdoor aspirations in the summer heat, make sure to have a plan in place for electrolyte replenishment. My favorite natural electrolyte-rich option is coconut water with a pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. Chocolate milk is less traditional and a more indulgent option that’s great for an occasional treat.

9. Don’t forget the white stuff.

No, not the stuff in the middle of the Oreo. I’m talking about milk. The lowly beverage that we often forget about is still the nutritious and calcium-rich powerhouse it’s always been. There are other ways to get your calcium and drink some protein, but they often aren’t quick, easy and versatile. If you have trouble digesting cow’s milk or would prefer a vegan option, there are tons of delicious nut milk products available. My favorite nutritious non-dairy milk options are coconut milk and hemp milk.

10. Keep the kids happy.

Got assigned snack duty for the sports game? Stick with 100-percent fruit juice or, even better, individual containers of milk to help replenish energy reserves and keep kids happy as (sweaty) clams in the sunshine.

To schedule a consultation with Angela, visit the MediSlim clinic at 3806 S. Medford Drive in Lufkin or call (936) 632-1996 for more information.

Hydration: 10 Tips To Beat The Summer Heat