The average American should consume about 2,000 calories per day. Since a typical 16 oz. soda, 16 oz. flavored latte, and 12 oz. of orange juice each have about 200 calories, just one drink can account for 1/10th of your recommended daily calories! Although it is important to stay hydrated, it is also important to use your daily calories wisely with nutritious choices.
When calories are consumed through a drink, most people don’t even think about them. But liquid calories can add up very quickly throughout the day! How can you avoid accidentally hydrating your way to an expanded waistline? Stick with low-calorie or calorie-free drinks! Read on for tips for beverages of all kinds.
Although diet sodas have no nutritional value, they also don’t have calories. How? Diet drinks use alternative sweeteners to achieve the same sweetness as sugar without the calories. But beware! These sweeteners can cause diarrhea, gas, and/or bloating in some individuals. It is best to avoid these options if you suffer from any gastrointestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as they can cause flare ups. Although water is always the best option, if you’re a pop drinker, stick to diet!
Coffees and teas are virtually calorie-free, plus, they usually include antioxidants to reduce your risk for disease. However, when sugar, honey, milk, or cream are added, these drinks can become very calorie dense. As stated above, a 16 oz flavored latte can add 200 calories to your day. A good rule of thumb to remember is the less you add to your drink, the fewer calories ingest. If you can’t drink black coffee or unsweetened tea, try using skim milk instead of cream. You can also your sugar content by using cinnamon as a sweetener instead. Oh, and forget the whip!
Unsweetened iced teas are also a great option. Many companies now offer cold-brew teas in a variety of different flavors. For a start, try something like pomegranate green tea reduce bitterness while still providing antioxidants. When sweetening tea, remember to your sugar, and keep in mind that sweet teas already contain almost as much sugar and calories as a soda!
While fruit juice contains some of a whole fruit’s nutrients, it lacks one of the most important ones: fiber! Fiber is mainly found in fruit skins, and skins are usually removed during the juicing process. For example, the pulp in orange juice is fiber, but most store-bought brands sell pulp-free juices. Fiber helps keep bowel movements regular, and frequent consumption of it can lower your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Watch out for concentrated fruit juices – they have a high sugar content. All in all, it’s best to try and keep your juice consumption under 8 oz.
Homemade flavored waters
Flavored waters are a great way to stay hydrated without adding calories. Adding lemon, cucumber, orange, berries, or herbs can give your water a delicious kick! By flavoring your water at home, you can control exactly which ingredients and how many calories go into your water. Store-bought flavored waters often contain preservatives, carbonation, and extra calories from sweeteners. If you prefer something carbonated, use soda water instead of tap or filtered water.
Ready to mix up your own water? Try this recipe to start!
1 pitcher ice water
5 strawberries (quartered and hulled)
1/2 lemon (sliced)
small handful of basil leaves
Mix it all up, let it sit, and drink!
Remember, your HHO Dietitians are always available to help you “rethink your drink”!!