University of Illinois Extension

Food for Thought - University of Illinois Extension

Water, Water Everywhere

Without food we can live for several weeks, without water we will die in a few days. More than half the weight of the body is water.

Water is needed to:

  • keep food moving through the body
  • eliminate body wastes
  • keep the body at the right temperature

The body loses and needs to replace two to three quarts of water every day. If you exercise, work or play in the summer heat, you can lose even more water.

Sources of Water

We get some water from the foods we eat. But we need to drink six to eight glasses of liquid each day. Fruit juice, milk, soup and, of course, water will provide the liquids we need. Beverages with caffeine, such as ice tea or sodas make the body lose more water so should not be counted. Cool drinks are used better by the body than warm ones.

When You Exercise or Play

Even if you don't feel thirsty when you are playing or exercising, it's important to replace the water you lose through sweating. Drinking enough water to no longer feel thirsty does not replace all the water lost. In hot weather, you should drink water before you exercise or play. While you exercise or play in the heat, drink a half of glass of water every 15 minutes. Be sure to continue to drink water after you have exercised to replace all the fluids you have lost.

Be sure to take water with you when you go on a picnic, a hike, fishing or other summer activity. This is especially important if you will be gone for several hours. In the summer time, it is always a good idea to carry a bottle of water with you.

How Much Water

Have your children help you figure how much water you each need to drink each day. Take a large pitcher or container, using your one-cup measuring cup, measure eight cups of water into the container. This is the amount of water each person in your family should drink every day. If you work or play out in the heat this summer, you should add two or three more cups of water to the container.

Water or No Water

This activity looks at what happens when a flower does not get water.

Place one flower in a cup of water; place another flower in a cup without water. Wait 24 hours.

After 24 hours the flower that was not in water wilted and drooped. The flower that was in water is still fresh and pretty. The same thing happens to us. More than half the weight of our body is water. Water is needed to keep food moving through the intestinal tract. Water also helps regulate the body temperature by distributing heat and cooling the body with perspiration.

Discovery Walk

Summer is a great time to get outside and explore. You don't have to go far to explore.

Set a day each week to go on a walk around your neighborhood with your children. Before you go, make a list of things you will look for. You could look for flowers blooming, how many different kinds of trees you see, how many butterflies or birds you see. Each week observe what has changed since last week. One week you may notice iris blooming, the next week it may be daisies. One week the trees may have only small leaves and a week later they might be much bigger.

When you get home, have each child write down something he/she observed. At the end of summer it will be fun to go back and read about the changes in your neighborhood over the past few months. If your kids are too young to write, have them draw a picture or tell you and you write for them.

Be sure to enjoy a nice cool glass of water after your walk.

Red Pineapple Punch

1 can (46 ounce) unsweetened pineapple juice
6 cups water
1 package unsweetened tropical punch drink mix

Stir together all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve over ice.

Snow Cones

To make each cone, place crushed ice in a paper cup. Mix one part unsweetened frozen apple or orange juice concentrate with one part water. Pour the diluted concentrate over the ice.

Orange Delight

1/2 cup unsweetened orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup plain yogurt or 1 banana
1/4 cup milk

Blend all ingredients together in a blender to make a tasty drink. Makes 4 small servings.

Fruit Juice Pops

1 (6 ounce) can frozen juice concentrate
2 cups plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 (5 ounce) paper cups
6 wooden sticks

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the six cups. Insert a wooden stick in each cup for a handle. Cover and freeze until firm.

(Note: To remove a pop, hold the paper cup under tap water for a few seconds.)