IS WATER THE BEST EXERCISE DRINK? I f you exercise for 45 minutes or less, water is the best fluid to keep you hydrated. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates for energy and electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are lost through perspiration. But unless you’re engaged in prolonged exercise, like a long-distance run, a sports drink usually isn’t necessary, according to most doctors and athletic trainers. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages before or during your workout, as they increase the rate of dehydration. SLOW DOWN, EAT LESS R esearch shows that eating at a slower pace can reduce the calories consumed in a meal. It may also increase your satisfaction with the food you consume. Slow down your eating by: n Having respect for the meal – Find a place to sit without distractions such as a television, radio or reading material. Take a moment to calm yourself and notice the food you are about to eat. n Pre-dishing food – Dish up a modest portion of food away from the dinner table and leave serving plates and bowls off the dinner table. This makes it harder to reach for seconds and provides a built-in pause to ask yourself if you’re truly hungry. n Taking little bites and breaks – Keep the amount of food on your spoon or fork modest. After a couple of bites, put your utensil down or pause to take a sip of water or pat your lips with a napkin before resuming with additional bites or servings. n Eating crunchy – Crunchy or chewy food items such as raw vegetables, nuts, some fruits and hearty, whole-grain breads take an above-average amount of chewing before swallowing. n Taking time to savour – Appreciate the tastes and textures of food as you eat. Let savoury aftertastes linger and play out before taking your next bite. n Using gadgets – A number of smartphone apps and other gadgets may help you slow the pace of your eating. Even short- term use of a timer can give you enough insight into your habits to make a change.