5 Smart Beverage Swaps

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5 Smart Beverage Swaps

Written by Melinda Hershey, Health Educator

Could you be sipping a meals' worth of calories between meals? Though some beverages may seem innocent enough, liquid calories tend add up fast--and can easily skyrocket your daily intake without you even realizing it. These simple switches will help you trim the fat while enjoying your favorite types of drinks.

Drink Plain Coffee Instead of a Latte

Could your morning latte be to blame for your stalled weight-loss efforts? Since many flavored coffee drinks contain 400 calories or more, it could be the culprit.

Next time, survey your coffee options before you sip, or simply skip all the fancy creams and flavored syrups and go with a plain cup of joe. If desired, you can add your own sweeteners, cream or flavoring--but you'll be able to control the portions and the calories by doing it yourself.

Drink a Low-Cal Energizing Drink Mix Instead of an Energy Drink

These days, the grocery store coolers are lined with dozens of varieties of sugar- and caffeine-infused energy drinks. The cans claim numerous "energizing" benefits, and these drinks may even contain added vitamins, but all you're really getting is a hefty dose of caffeinated sugar water (and hundreds of calories to boot).

If you want the energy without the added calories, try a flavorful drink mix (like Crystal Light Energy). It gives you a boost thanks to added caffeine but contains a minimal amount of calories and zero added sugar. Add a packet to your water bottle, or mix it with seltzer for a fizzy, low-calorie treat.

Drink Unsweetened Tea Instead of Sweet Tea

Tea has countless health benefits by itself, but you're not doing yourself any favors by loading it up with hundreds of calories of added sugar. Tea tastes wonderful in its natural state; it sometimes just takes some getting used to!

If you usually drink sweetened tea (iced or hot), slowly cut back on the amount of sugar you add over the course of a few weeks until you're ready to drink it straight. When ordering sweet tea from a restaurant (where they've already added the sweetener for you), ask for an extra cup of water so you can water it down as you wean yourself off the sugar.

There are many herbal teas you can brew that have a natural sweetness thanks to dried fruits and sweet-tasting herbs. While it might not be as sweet as sweet tea, natural tea has a unique and refreshing taste that you might learn to love over time if you give it a chance.

Drink Seltzer Instead of Soda

It's hard to avoid soda. Most of us probably see some kind of soda advertisement or bottle several times per week, whether it be at a gas station, grocery store, or social function. Soda packs a hefty caloric punch that adds up fast: A typical 24-ounce bottle can contain up to 500 calories!

If you crave the fizz soda, try drinking calorie-free seltzer water with a spritz of lime or a small splash of juice for some added flavor and sweetness. You'll slash your calorie and sugar consumption while still getting your bubbly fix.

Drink Mocktails Instead of Cocktails

It's fine to let loose and have a few drinks with friends, but remember that not all alcohol is created equal. Toss back a few sugary margaritas and you're looking at consuming nearly 1,000 calories--and that's before you even touch the deep-fried bar food!

To scale back on your alcohol calories, avoid frozen or blended drinks, as they tend to contain the most sugars and flavorings. Instead, stick with dry wine or liquor mixed with soda water, low-calorie drink packets, or another low-calorie mixer. If you're pouring the drinks yourself, keep an eye on serving sizes: 12 ounces for beer, 5 ounces for wine, and just 1.5 ounces for liquor.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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CRYSTHND

11/16/2016 5:41:18 PM

CRYSTHND's SparkPage
Stevie is a great natural sweetener with no calories for tea coffee, and lemon water, you only need a tiny bit cause it's potent!

ARHAYES54568

11/16/2016 2:38:53 PM

ARHAYES54568's SparkPage
If you're looking for a good drink in the evening, try tonic water w/lime (or lemon). Esp. Good with appetizers and refreshing in warm weather or when others are drinking alcohol. Not sweet like sodas.

TOTFARMER

11/16/2016 1:56:33 PM

TOTFARMER's SparkPage
I started drinking more water with lemons or lime in it. Coke and sweet tea were my down fall.

JASS51

11/16/2016 12:48:26 PM

JASS51's SparkPage
I drink unsweet tea and water. I also drink hot green tea. I love flavored creamer , I measure and log it.

SARAHALM

11/16/2016 10:11:03 AM

SARAHALM's SparkPage
Mostly stick to water with lemon all day. But must have my coffee with cream, no sugar, in the mornings.

NANLTHOMPSON

11/16/2016 9:58:57 AM

NANLTHOMPSON's SparkPage
One of my go to drinks when I eat out is soda water with a twust of lime. It took a while to get used to because it isn't sweet but now I much prefer it.

CHEROKEEROSE621

11/16/2016 9:06:59 AM

CHEROKEEROSE621's SparkPage
I make unsweetened tea, decaf only, some regular bags, some green tea bag, 2 black tea bags ( cause it's supposed to be good for you)
I add lemon to it, sometimes when I crave sweetness, I add honey or 1 bag of Splenda ..., plus I drink at least 32 ounces of water a day

SKIERS26

11/16/2016 6:54:17 AM

Drink water Almost all the time. Or lemon / lime water. Dont drink juices or soda or coffee

MUFFYR

6/15/2016 6:48:57 AM

MUFFYR's SparkPage
I grow fresh rosemary and putting some of that in your water is awesome

318ISME

6/6/2016 8:17:21 AM

318ISME's SparkPage
I brew tea as often as needed... herbal, fruit flavors... and have been able to increase my fluids by 400%.

SPARKYFLOWER

5/23/2016 7:54:49 AM

SPARKYFLOWER's SparkPage
Love My water, Coffee, and an occasional Wine. Makes the world go around.

KARRITT3

5/22/2016 4:05:16 PM

KARRITT3's SparkPage
I love drinking bottled water, but I have recently had several surgeries and it is hard for me to drink now. It goes right through me. About the only thing I can drink is Krogers grape soda, it seems to keep me out of the bathroom as often. I'm going to try the tea but any other suggestions would be appreciated

NANCYANGEL

5/22/2016 2:36:41 PM

NANCYANGEL's SparkPage
Thanks for sharing this news.great tips

LHITCHINGS

5/22/2016 1:13:05 PM

LHITCHINGS's SparkPage
Hmmm.....drink something without sugar instead of something with sugar. That's news

300TO170ORBUST

5/22/2016 2:25:18 AM

300TO170ORBUST's SparkPage
Just cut out soda a week ago. It's hard, but I'd rather eat my calories than drink them

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