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How much can I drink in a day?
You should have ____________milliliters (mL), _______ ounces (oz), or ____ cups of liquid each day.
What do I count as fluid?
You will need to account for anything that you drink. Any food that you eat that becomes liquid at room temperature must also be counted.
How do I measure what I drink and eat?
The list below will help you convert the fluids that you are drinking into ounces (oz) and milliliters (mL).
1 tablespoon = ½ oz = 15 mL
¼ cup = 2 oz = 60mL
½ cup = 4 oz = 120mL
¾ cup = 6 oz = 180mL
1 cup = 8 oz = 240mL
12 oz can of soda = 360mL
1 liter = 1000mL
1 quart = 1060mL
4 cups = 32 oz = 1 quart = 945mL
8 cups = 64 oz = 2 quarts = 1920 mL
Water, fruit juices, milk, decaf coffee, decaf tea, herbal decaf tea, or caffeine free sodas are great sources of the fluid that you need. Caffeine and alcohol can have a mild diuretic effect. Limit the alcohol and caffeine in your diet. These drinks should be counted toward your fluid total. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you have questions about caffeine.
Fluids in Common Food/Drinks
30 mL (1 ounce):
1 ice cube
80-90 mL (3 ounces):
Ice cream sandwich
120 mL (1/2 cup or 4 ounces):
Pre-packaged thickened juice
Soup with vegetables, rice or pasta
180 mL (3/4 cup or 6 ounces):
Italian ice cups
Watermelon (1 cup diced)
240 mL (1 cup or 8 ounces):
Milk, Lactaid®, soy milk, almond milk
Pre-packaged thickened milk
High protein milkshake
Soda with ice
You might find it helpful to write down what you are eating and drinking and keep a running total for the day. Plan out the amount of fluid you will have during the day.
Tips to Control Fluids and Thirst
Avoid salty or high sodium foods, these increase your thirst.
Spread out fluids over the course of a day.
Use smaller cups for drinks.
Make sure you know how much fluid your cups, bowls, mugs and glasses hold.
Instead of adding ice cubes to your favorite drink, make ice cubes out of your favorite drink.
Freeze or partially freeze pieces of fruit for a treat between meals to help relieve dry mouth. Try lemon wedges, orange sections, peaches, berries.
Try sugar-free chewing gum or hard candies to keep your mouth moist.
Rinse your mouth with water, but do not swallow to help with a dry mouth.
Do not overheat your home and use a humidifier to increase humidity in the air.
Who to Call
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions, please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and American Family Children’s Hospital can be reached at: (608) 890-5500
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation can be reached at:
f you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.