Walking down the beverage aisle of the supermarket, one encounters an incredible number of choices. Identifying healthy beverages can be confusing because of the way beverages are labeled.
Some are clearly just soda, but of late they are being offered at incredibly low prices and seem like a great bargain. This can make it tempting to buy them, but drinking soda is truly drinking “empty calories”. Diet sodas are not good substitutes because they fuel to taste for sweet and can trigger cravings for sweet treats.
Further on down the beverage aisle you will find an enormous array of “energy drinks.” These are targeted at young people, suggesting the drinks will give them an edge over their competitors. The only energy derived from these drinks is in the form of sugar or caffeine, and neither option is a healthy one for active kids. When sugar is used for energy, the energy is short-lived and kids are tired and hungry within an hour, putting them on a cycle of ups and downs that lead to overeating and obesity. If you are looking to lose weight and are a heavy beverage consumer, refer to the following list for healthier drinking options that will help you shed unwanted pounds:
- Chilled filtered Water
- Sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime
- 100% juice diluted with sparkling water
- Green tea
- Herbal tea
- Rice milk
- Hormone and antibiotic free 1% milk
- Red wine in moderation (for those over 21)
- Real cocoa
- Some further suggestions:
Switch from coffee drinks with full-fat dairy, artificial flavorings, and extras such as whipped cream. These can pack as many calories (and fat) as a meal. A better option is a plain coffee or, better yet, antioxidant-rich green tea. I usually purchase a cafe Americano at Starbucks and add milk to it. Forget the fancy 4 o'clock drinks - they are expensive, can make you reliant on caffeine and will hurt your waistline.
Ditch frothy cocktails. Whether it's an Irish coffee or a pina colada, sugary and creamy drinks have as many as 800 calories in one drink! They also trigger an urge to snack along with the drink. A better option is a glass of red wine (100 calories) or a light beer (about 100 calories).
Forget Non-juice “juice drinks.” Before buying juice, read the label and make sure it is 100% juice (not just "made with" real juice) with no added sweeteners. Don't buy juices that have artificial sweeteners like aspartame or splenda. I buy organic grapefruit or pomegranate juice and dilute with plain or sparkling water. (Grapefruit doesn't work if you're taking statins.) Always better to have a piece of fruit than a glass of juice.
Say no to Soda. There isn't anything nutritious about soda, and diet is worse than regular. If you're a soda addict, break the habit by replacing it with water or fruit, have water, tea or juice with a meal or as a thirst quencher.
Skip Energy drinks The label “energy drink” is very misleading. The “energy” derived from these drinks and “vitamin” drinks is primarily sugar and caffeine in large doses and it poses a health risk, especially to children and teens. One such drink has a total of 9 teaspoons of sugar in one bottle! Don’t buy them. Instead buy real juice and fresh fruits and have the kids get a good night’s sleep.
When you make good beverage choices, you will be hydrating your body and satisfying your thirst in healthy ways. The next time that you are feeling tired or lacking in concentration, have a tall glass of water and see how you feel. It can be incredibly refreshing and restorative.
If you need help kicking the soda or latte habit, schedule a FREE consultation in person or by phone with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.