Drinking regularly throughout the day is essential for our health and an important part of our routine. We need to drink 6—8 glasses daily to stay hydrated. This will vary between different people. For example, you will need to drink more in warmer places or when you are more active.
We have all had times when we haven’t drunk enough, leading to tiredness, difficulty concentrating, headaches or dizziness. An easy way to tell if you are drinking enough is to keep an eye on the colour of your urine. It should be a pale yellow colour. If it’s dark, you need to drink more.
We sometimes mistake feeling thirsty for feeling hungry, so before you go for a snack, try having a drink first.
We get some of the water we need from the food we eat. The rest we need from our drinks. The type of drinks we have is important as you can easily get a lot of sugar and fat from your drinks without realising it. We should aim to have no more than 30g of free sugars (7 sugar cubes) each day.
There are many healthy ways to keep hydrated, and it’s up to you what you prefer. You don’t have to swap all the drinks you enjoy. Think about the balance of what you drink overall, whether you need to have some things less often and whether there are healthier alternatives you could enjoy instead.
Tap water is a cheap and healthy option. Lower fat milk or low sugar milk alternatives, such as soya or nut milk, can also be a good choice. You might prefer drinking tea and coffee. Having these without sugar, honey, syrups or cream are better options.
You might like fruit or vegetable juice if you don’t enjoy hot drinks. Try to keep to one glass daily as they are high in sugar but lower in fibre than whole fruit and vegetables. You could mix your juice with water and reduce the amount of juice you have over time.
Fizzy drinks, energy drinks, squash, smoothies, flavoured milk and waters can be high in sugar, so it’s best to try sugar-free and lower fat options when possible.
Think about the size of the drinks you have too. If your drink is high in fat or sugar, go for smaller versions when you can.
Safer alcohol consumption
Establishing a healthy relationship with alcohol might be important for you. If you drink alcohol, you may also need to consider how much you regularly have. Drinking less is not only better for your health but can also help you to manage your weight. This is because you can get more calories from alcohol than you may realise.
These self-assessment tools can help you work out your current alcohol consumption, your needs and the areas of support you might find helpful.
Here are a few other things you could do:
- Set a limit before you drink, and try to stick to it.
- Talk to friends and family that you are trying to cut down.
- Drink water alongside alcoholic drinks.
- Try not to skip meals.
- Swap to lower sugar options.
- Think about the size of your glass; go for smaller options.
- Try low alcohol options; they can often be lower in calories.
Think about the types of drinks you regularly have, and if there are any changes you can make. Then set a drinks goal that will work for you.
Alcohol Change UK: Interactive Tools