The Most Hydrating Fruits and Veggies to Keep on Your Plate This Summer

Happy kids eating watermelon on the beach
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Phew — it’s a scorcher out there! There’s no denying that summers are getting hotter and hotter, and the 2022 season is already shaping up to be one of the hottest. While we all can do our part in reducing emissions and combating climate change to help mitigate these unbearable temperatures, the reality is that the impacts of climate change are already here.

With ongoing heat waves and droughts in most of the country, it’s important to stay hydrated to keep yourself in good health. Drinking enough water is a good place to start, but you should also consider eating hydrating foods to keep yourself cool, whether you’re sweating it out on a hike, a walk in the park, an afternoon at the pool, or a nap on your sofa.

Here are eight fruits and vegetables with high water content to snack on when the temperatures are soaring.

1. Watermelon

It’s perfect timing that watermelon is in season come summertime. This tasty, refreshing fruit has an impressive water content around 90% that makes it a great treat to enjoy during this time of year.

For the juiciest, sweetest watermelon, opt for one that is round, feels heavy, and has large webbing and/or a bright orange spot.

Watermelon is great on its own as a snack, but there are many other ways to eat (or drink!) this hydrating fruit. Add it to a salsa recipe for a sweet-and-spicy topping or dip, or blend it for a frosty drink. It’s also delicious in a salad.

2. Cucumber

Cucumbers are one of the most hydrating foods available. With about 96% water content, you’ll want to munch on these as often as you can. Fortunately, this fruit (yes, cucumbers are botanically a fruit), has a subtle flavor that makes it versatile.

Like watermelon, cucumber is tasty on its own or in a salad. Because of the high water content, cucumber is also a good candidate for juicing and pairs well with other freshly juiced fruits. Add cucumber to sandwiches or toast or cold noodle dishes for crunch, or blend it with veggies for a summer gazpacho.

3. Jícama

Are you getting enough jícama in your diet? This all-star root veggie (technically, it’s a bean, but often considered a root veggie) is made up of 85% water. It’s a nutritious food that works well for those who need to monitor blood sugar levels and insulin, and it is a great source of fiber.

Jícama can be used in a variety of ways. If you buy it whole at the store, remove the skin first. Then, you can chop the inside and eat it raw — plain or with your favorite dip. Add jícama matchsticks to salads for crunch, or roast it as an alternative to potatoes. You can also find thinly sliced jícama wraps at many grocery stores today, so they can even serve as taco shells.

4. Lettuce

Many different types of lettuce are high in water content, typically around 95%, although it can vary based on the type of lettuce you’re eating. Leafy greens like spinach are also hydrating.

You probably already know the drill with lettuce — use it as a base for salads, add it to sandwiches and burgers, or chop it up to stuff inside wraps or tacos. You can even use large lettuce pieces to wrap burgers in place of buns for especially hot days where you want extra hydration. Greens like spinach and kale are also fantastic ways to add nutrients to hydrating smoothies.

5. Celery

With about 95% water content, celery is another hydrating veggie to add to your plate. This vegetable also has a decent amount of fiber, potassium, and calcium.

You can munch on celery on its own, although the slightly bitter taste isn’t for everyone. Go for “ants on a log” by adding peanut butter and raisins for a sweet and slightly salty flavor combination. Celery can also be juiced or added to gazpacho.

6. Tomatoes

Made up of about 95% water, tomatoes are the poster child of summer. They peak in the summer, becoming incredibly plump, juicy and rich in flavor.

There’s no shortage of ways to use up your abundance of tomatoes from the garden, farmer’s market or CSA deliveries. Slice them up and eat plain as a snack. Add to salads, sandwiches, burgers, soy dogs and pastas. Fill tacos and burritos with tomatoes, or use them in homemade salsas.

7. Broccoli

Broccoli consists of an impressive 90% water content, so make sure you’re getting enough of this nutrient-dense vegetable. 

You’ll get the most benefit out of broccoli by enjoying it raw. It’s an ideal companion to a veggie tray with your favorite dips, like hummus or ranch. Broccoli florets and chopped stems also add texture and flavor to salads. 

8. Zucchini

Another summer staple, zucchini has about 90% water, plus it includes fiber and is rich in antioxidants.

This summer squash makes gazpacho creamy, or it can be thinly sliced into “zoodles” for cold pasta dishes or even veggie lasagna. Another unconventional way to use up zucchini? Slice it up and freeze it, then add the frozen zucchini chunks to a smoothie. It doesn’t impact the flavor, but it does make for an incredibly smooth and silky texture.

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