How Better Drink Choices Will Lead to a Healthier Lifestyle
Healthy eating is on the rise. We are cutting carbs, busting sugar and thinking more about what we put in our bodies. We read labels when shopping and plan menus ahead of time to reduce inflammatory ingredients, such as refined sugar, in our diets. We eat whole foods in place of packaged foods and make smarter choices when eating out. Whether you want to lose weight, bump up the health factor in your daily menu, train for a marathon, or have always been a person who considers healthy menu choices a vital part in living an active lifestyle, be sure to take beverages into account when creating your healthy meal plan.
Count Liquid Calories
If healthy eating is on the rise, why does it seem that obesity is more prevalent than ever before? A surprising number of consumers neglect to count calories in drinks they commonly consume daily. Consumption of sugary sodas remains on the rise among children. Furthermore, snapped up by adults eager to get on the fast track to weight loss, heavily sweetened, non-carbonated beverages – sold by those same soda companies and, labeled as energy drinks by clever marketing executives – dominate the health and water aisles of our markets in dizzying numbers.
Milkshakes, sold as protein drinks purporting to help build muscle prominently feature in windows of vitamin stores. Yogurt shops offer less healthy toppings like cookie crumbles and high fructose sauces. Before you even add the sugary toppings, the average frozen yogurt contains about 3 grams more sugar than a scoop of ice cream. We are bombarded daily with images of fitness models exhibiting a frothy shake alongside impossibly toned abs. In reality, sugar is not the only saboteur presented in the health aisle. Canned tomato juice is loaded with sodium. The average serving of V8 contains 480 grams of sodium.
So, how can we possibly avoid reaching for that 300 calorie liquid refreshment?
Eating Clean Requires Making Smart Choices
If you really want to live that healthy lifestyle you visualize, planning and education will get you there. You may think making wise drink choices means avoiding eating out and giving up Friday night drinks with friends. As with all things, moderation is vital in living healthy; while denying yourself will lead you down the path to failure every time.
Making Smarter Choices When Reaching For A Drink
Soda, whether diet or regular, should be avoided most, or all, of the time. Artificial sweeteners contain additives that our bodies translate as carbohydrates and metabolize like sugar. However, liquid Stevia is naturally sweet and easy to find in a variety of flavors at grocery stores as well as health food stores and online. We have been programmed by media to associate the sensation of refreshment with an ice cold soda.
Try making yourself a virgin Mojito instead:
- Crush some fresh mint in the bottom of a tall, chilled glass;
- Add the juice of one lime;
- Add liquid Stevia; (start with 7-8 drops adding more to taste once you have had your first sip);
- Pour sparkling water over the ice to fill glass;
- Top with a sprig of mint;
This can be poured into an insulated commuter cup on the go or savored in a glass in your backyard. Most restaurant bars will make this zero calorie version of the popular cocktail upon request as well.
Goodbye To Your Favorite Morning Cafe Or Evening Cocktails? No.
You don’t have to give up adult beverages or your morning café ritual; however, keep track of what you consume. Make wiser choices and minimize the impact that they can have on your health. When out for drinks with friends, choose a 100 calorie glass of wine over highly caloric mixed drinks or, opt for a virgin cocktail.
Our coffee drinks can quickly pack on calories, sugars and carbs. That’s okay once in awhile, but a 20 oz. latte without sweetener equals 250 calories. Five days a week that adds up to 1250 calories. Some better choices include:
- A 20 oz. coconut milk latte at 170 calories (without the natural sugars that occur in cow’s milk);
- A 30 oz unsweetened iced green tea at 60 calories reduces that weekly total to just 300 while avoiding inflammatory ingredients like sugar at the same time.
Refined sugars are inflammatory substances in our bodies. They aggravate arthritis joint pain, contribute to weight gain and cause headaches. By choosing creative drinks containing less or no sugar, you can eat out or stay in and still maintain a healthy lifestyle.