Healthy Beverages – A Guest Post by Registered Dietitian, Maria Kennedy

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Welcome to cold weather and football season. Here are some healthy reminders as you move inside and gather around the television, as well as when you are hitting the gym.

Healthy Beverages

When choosing your drinks, keep in mind that it is best to stay hydrated is by drinking water. Our bodies are made of approximately 60-70% water. When you get dehydrated (not having enough water) you feel tired and run down because your body cannot work as it should. You do not feel thirsty until you are already dehydrated, so it is best to drink water all day long to prevent dehydration. While you can drink too much water, it would take quite a lot and this is rarely a problem. Generally, avoid drinks with calories and save your calories for food. Here are some helpful beverage tips:

  • If you don’t like plain water, try adding fruit or herbs. Some ideas include: lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, pineapple, melon, mint, rosemary, thyme, basil, or ¼ cup of 100% fruit juice to plain water.
  • Try unsweetened tea with lemon or orange slices. If you cannot give up sweet tea, cut the sugar back gradually over time to help you adjust to drinking it with less sugar.
  • Buy seltzer water (not tonic). Read the label to make sure that it is has zero calories and ideally no artificial sweeteners. Add fruit or a 1/4 cup of 100% fruit juice. An example of this is seltzer water with 1/4 cup 100% crangrape juice and a piece of lime. You will feel like you are drinking a fancy drink and it will have just a few calories.
  • Brew herbal tea and pour over ice. Try it without sugar and add a piece of lemon, lime or orange. Example: Raspberry tea with a slice of lemon. This would work well with black tea or green tea.
  • Just say “NO” to the SSBs (sugar sweetened beverages). This includes soda, sweet tea, fruit juice, fruit punch, lattes, and any other drinks containing sugar. FYI – The average 20 oz. soda has about 250 calories and about 17 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Skip the diet drinks. Studies have shown that when people substitute regular soda for diet beverages they often do not experience weight loss. The reason is unclear but possible theories include that they increase cravings for sweets or that artificial sweeteners affect hunger/satiety cues in the body. Diet drinks do not offer any nutritional benefit. However, if it is very difficult for you to give up soda entirely and you are able to maintain a healthy weight, then drink diet soda in moderation. For more info artificial sweeteners, follow this link: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/artificial-sweeteners/MY00073
  • Make your own coffee drinks at home. To add flavor to plain coffee try adding any of the following: almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla/almond extract with one tsp. of sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and one tsp. sugar, pumpkin pie spice and one tsp. of sugar. One teaspoon (tsp.) of sugar only has 16 calories.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to one or less drinks per day.

Maria Kennedy, MPH, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

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