With the winter months coming fast everyone is scrambling inside to pick up warm beverages. The question is, ‘What do I pick?!’ The choices are endless. The key is to pick something that not only tastes good but is healthy! Drinks are ‘secret calorie carriers’ which means you think its good but in reality are calorie laden! Beverages from hot-spot favorites such as Starbucks and Panera Bread list the calorie content, however they are simply estimates, and sometimes a server may add more of this or that creating a larger discrepancy than you realize. The key is consistency and moderation!
Aim for options that are ‘low-fat,’ ‘100% juice,’ ‘pesticide and antibiotic-free bottled water’ and ‘flavored beverages without any added sugar.’ As evidence has shown, even natural sugar is sugar so we MUST limit our quantities. The new craze with beverages are labeled as ‘diet’ or enhanced which tend to mean that there are tons of artificial sweeteners and chemicals but not always so check the ingredient labels! Unfortunately – we do not know the side effects of beverages high in added artificial sugar or chemicals but the evidence mounting shows they are carcinogenic (for more information check the National Institutes of Health/NIH).
With all the above mentioned I have listed some guidelines to help during the holiday season when selecting beverages:
- Aim for milks that are ‘low-fat’ – limited to 8-12 oz or less portions
- Add savory spices to drinks such as nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin, and much more
- If your kids refuse regular milk – seek variations that are flavored but check the ingredients for artificial ingredients and if anything looks out of sorts… toss it
- 100% fruit and/or vegetable juices limited to 8-12 oz or less portions
- Ice your beverages to make them taste better
- Beverages should be caffeine free where possible (aim for one caffeine beverage per day if really necessary)
- Avoid the sugar packets if your beverage has been pre-made at a local hotspot – less is more
- If you’re really craving that frappuccino – make half on ice which will water it down slightly and trick your mind into thinking you’re getting the whole calorie laden serving
- If the choice is yours about what milk or juices to add in beverages, select low-fat options
- Add natural fruits such as lime, lemon, orange, or strawberry wedges to beverages to make water taste fresher without the need for gourmet high-cost waters
Enjoy your beverages this season!
xxx – Sarah