Drinking your calories? Choose low-calorie drinks that boost your health and don’t weigh you down.
Do you need your daily latte from your favorite coffee shop? Do you juice fresh fruits or blend fruit juices into smoothies? Are you having trouble socializing without drinking an occasional beer or cocktail?
When consuming beverages, watch out for the hidden calories. Unknown calories from added sugar could be the reason why your weight isn’t dropping. Think about getting most of your calories from whole, nutritious foods instead of beverages and remember that even the best meal plan and fitness routine doesn’t work if you don’t have control over what you drink.
Stop drinking your chocolate bar.
If you choose the Starbucks strawberry smoothie instead, which is advertised to contain “one whole banana, natural strawberry puree, milk and special powder mix of whey protein and fiber,” you’ll be drinking the same sugar content of almost two Hershey’s milk chocolate bars — 41 grams of sugar to be exact. Plus, because the fruit is blended, their sugars will be absorbed into your bloodstream faster causing you to crash later.
Choose this: If it’s chocolate you crave, opt for a square of dark chocolate or make an antioxidant-boosting hot chocolate with raw cacao powder. If it’s fruit you crave, eat the fruit whole or choose our berry yogurt smoothie below. Finally, get tips for breaking up with sugar from 8fit coach, Marife.
Cold-pressed juices: Healthy or hipster?
Three medium-sized apples yield about 1 cup of juice, which is around 120 calories. Even though we don’t believe in counting calories, we do think it’s important to limit the liquid ones.
If you eat a whole fresh fruit, you’re eating the skin, flesh and possibly the seeds. As a result, your body benefits from the healthy fiber, which will help to absorb the sugar a little slower. When you drink a cup of juice, it is gone within seconds and the sugar is absorbed quickly by the body.
Cold-pressed juice does have slightly more nutrients because there is no heat applied in the juicing process (that’s why it’s called “cold” pressed), but you will still end up drinking extra sugar you don’t need. If you choose to drink juice, have it in moderation and opt for juices that have more vegetables than fruits Finally, beware of clever marketed fad diets which might seem healthy at first glance. Juice cleanses cut out entire food groups and your body won’t be getting the protein it needs to repair or the fat it needs to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.
Choose this: Choose vegetables juices over fruit juices. Those will be lower in sugar and calories.
If you choose to booze, choose low-calorie drinks.
Alcoholic beverages easily add a lot of extra calories to our diet. Also, when we drink alcohol, our body favors metabolizing alcohol before any fat which contributes to lack of fat loss.
Skip the sugary cocktails and pre-packaged mixers. Also, keep in mind that alcohol should always be consumed in moderation and remember to add an extra glass of water per serving of alcohol since alcohol can dehydrate you.
Choose this: The best low-calorie alcoholic drinks are hard liquors with a splash of citrus like lemon or lime juice — or one of our favorites, dry red wine.
Limit milk and milk-based coffees.
No, you don’t need a daily glass of milk to get strong bones. One cup of whole dairy milk has almost 150 calories and 13 grams sugar coming from lactose. If you love coffee but don’t like it black, try reducing milk step-by-step. Start by reducing the amount of milk in your coffee. . Then, maybe consider moving away from dairy milk altogether and adding nut, oat or soy milk instead. Once you managed to reduce your milk intake, you won’t crave it as much anymore.
Choose this: A non-dairy milk adds great flavor to any caffeinated beverage. Opt for plain, unsweetened nut milk varieties to add a nutty flavor. Want more flavor? Try out coffee mint smoothie.
Coffee mint smoothiePreparation time: 10 min.
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 ¼ cups almond milk (~10 oz)
- 1 ¼ tsp instant coffee powder (~⅛ oz)
- 1 banana (~4 oz)
- 4 ice cubes (~⅔ oz)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 ½ tbsp protein powder, min 70% protein (~1 oz)
- 1 ⅓ tbsp almond butter (plain, without added sugar) (~¾ oz)
- 2 tsp fresh mint (chopped)
- Peel and chop banana. Wash and chop mint.
- In a blender combine espresso powder and hot water; let stand 1 minute.
- Add banana, almond milk, mint, almond butter, and protein powder. Cover and blend until smooth. Gradually add ice blending to desired consistency.
- Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and garnish with any extra mint.
Ditch wellness and sports drinks
Just because words like “healthy,” “fitness,” “slim” or “sports” is plastered all over the bottle doesn’t mean it’s low in calories or good for you. Check the labels on your wellness and sports drinks (e.g. Gatorade, Powerade, Vitaminwater, etc.) before consuming them. Look for “red flag” words like corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, malt syrup and sugar syrup.
Choose this: Instead of reaching for a wellness or sports drink, try different herbal teas or make your own flavored water with herbs like mint or basil and citrus like lemon or lime.
Most of the calories you consume should come from real, whole foods, not sugary, high-calorie drinks. Before you get in line at Starbucks or reach for a packaged drink, get your nutrients and calories from whole foods. If you are craving a flavored beverage, turn to flavored water or veggie-forward juices without added sugar.
Love and health,