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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4/11/2016 9:03:58 PM

HETTA1949's SparkPage
I enjoy a glass of tap water with meals and after exercise. Cucumber and lemon/lime infused water is so refreshing.


1/11/2016 8:00:38 AM

MRIVERA82's SparkPage
My favorite...... Ice tea........


1/11/2016 7:58:23 AM

MRIVERA82's SparkPage
Love plain coffee.....


1/11/2016 7:57:05 AM

MRIVERA82's SparkPage
Good to know.


11/17/2015 2:52:23 AM

My favorite is It Works Greens added to my water. For an energy boost and only 10 cal!!


11/16/2015 9:37:53 PM

I love adding cut up strawberries to my water.


11/16/2015 7:29:07 PM

Like what I learned about the cold water


11/16/2015 6:56:49 PM

VIBRANT0819's SparkPage
I like mio beverage flavors


11/16/2015 2:17:13 PM

You should tell your boss tha water is a life essential


11/16/2015 11:07:40 AM

GOLDILOX44's SparkPage
I love water with or without any added flavor. The problem I have now is that I am working for a new company and our restroom breaks are limited so I have to drink less water during the day and catch up in the evening, which causes me to use the restroom during the pm/am. Do anyone have any suggestions on how I can get my daily water intake and not be penalized at work and home?


11/16/2015 9:36:13 AM

I love cucumber water . I clean houses so i freeze a few bottles & through tbem in lunch bag with my low cal high protein lunch, frozen bottles work as ice pack for lunch and as it melts u have icewater to drink.


11/16/2015 8:40:06 AM

A doctor told me if i drink my water COLD..ice cubes and all my matobolism has to speed up to warm the water so my body can USE IT..BURNING CALORIES..


11/16/2015 7:34:16 AM

JODYNEY's SparkPage
Thanks for the tips!


11/16/2015 7:28:37 AM

DEADGIRL76's SparkPage
Thanks for sharing


11/16/2015 5:58:23 AM

If I put bottles of water on the counter when I'm thirsty they are 5he first thing I see so I reach for them. I prefer warm water and I can down a whole water before meals and I eat alot less.

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