Think Before You Drink…Your Calories!

By Amy Melichar Messman, M.Ed., MCHES –   It’s New Year’s Resolution Time!  As I move through another new year, I begin to make a conscious effort to keep what I am eating and drinking in check.  What we drink on a daily basis is often overlooked or an afterthought for most people and can have a drastic impact on our overall daily caloric consumption.  Good or bad.  Well…mostly for the bad.  Here’s what I know, if you want to make some good decisions surrounding what you are drinking on a daily basis.

Water- Drinking water is not just good for flushing your overall body systems, it is also good for curbing your appetite.  Drinking two glasses of water before a meal may encourage your stomach to feel more full and thus you’ll consume less.  Try it!

Diet Soda– Making the switch to diet soda may decrease an obvious amount of calories, but the research is still going back and forth as to whether this little trick leads to any kind of weight loss.  Bottom line…it can’t hurt!  

Fruit Juice– Do what you can to make sure you are choosing 100% real fruit juices as most have additional sweeteners and sugar added.  Fruit juice is a great example where nutritional label reading must be a priority!  In addition, please note that 100% fruit juice can count for your fruit servings each day (see MyPlate.gov)

Smoothies– For optimal intake of vitamins and minerals, making your own with just fresh fruit in a blender is the best way to go.  If you are ordering it from a restaurant or fast food joint, be sure you are reading your labels and descriptions.  Once you start adding in sweeteners, honey, ice cream, etc. you also start adding in those extra calories!

Coffee– Many of us love our morning trip to the Brew for that cup of coffee.  Well…it may actually be good for you if you are drinking it black.  Black coffee is calorie-free and is rich in antioxidants.  However, it’s when we get into fancy coffee drinks where people start to have a harder time.  Though they taste good, adding that whip cream or flavor shot to your little cup of coffee may actually be adding on hundreds and hundreds of calories.  Look out!

Veggie Juice– Vegetable juice may be a great alternative for people looking to drink something healthy.  Often vegetable juice compared to fruit juice contains about half the amount of calories. As with fruit juice, vegetable juice can count for your vegetable servings each day as well (see MyPlate.gov)

Milk– Skim milk is your obvious choice here.  I know that many of us were raised on 1% or 2% growing up.  If you haven’t converted to save yourself the extra calories, try it slowly in your morning bowl of cereal!

Energy Drinks– READ THE LABEL.  Energy drinks are notorious for extra calories and sugar.  They may give you a few extra nutrients, sure, but be careful.  When in doubt and you are playing sports, or are exercising, reach for the good ole water instead!

So the next time you go to grab something to drink, think about your choices.  You could effectively enhance your caloric intake for the better, or you could sabotage your good choices for the day. You decide!

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