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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11/16/2015 5:43:55 AM

CANDEE412's SparkPage
I always drink crystal lights drink mix.


11/15/2015 6:22:22 PM

I never drink soda. I use mio water additive and its the only way I can drink water. I love my coffee. I only put 1 tablespoon of light cream in it.


9/25/2015 10:14:11 AM

RANEWELT's SparkPage
When I order Iced tea in a restaurant I order a half and half. Half sweetened / half plain. It helps me from just getting sweetened tea.


5/30/2015 1:16:08 PM

GGRSPARK's SparkPage
Any water with a squeeze of any citrus...or Perrier or Pelegrino


3/11/2015 9:51:52 AM

ACHANSO's SparkPage
I love flavored Keurig Kcups with Splenda. Delish!


11/16/2014 9:16:45 AM

I wasn't much of a water drinker and had to force myself to consume it with some tricks, such as hiding water in a container I couldn't see through. I also started adding lemon and then replaced the lemon with cucumbers after after several months of this finally transitioned to straight water and love it.


10/9/2014 7:31:13 PM

I am a coffee addict. In order to get more water in, I now drink 8 oz of water before refilling my coffee cup. I drink less coffee and my skin in looking fabulous. As the weather gets cooler, I microwave 2 cups of water and add a lemon slice. Very satisfying.


5/20/2014 4:27:20 PM

good & knowlegable


5/13/2014 7:27:01 AM

Discovered seltzer/soda water years ago when I had to cut out soft drinks due to high sugar content. Diet drinks always had awful after-taste.

There's small packets of dried lemon, lime or orange powder that add flavor.


7/12/2013 4:02:41 PM

Mmm.....coffee (favourite is espresso). Now I drink it black with Stevia as the sweetener.
These drink suggestions are helpful, and thanks for sharing. I like to have a variety of low to no-cal, unsweetened drinks to choose from and enjoy my water much more when I drink it out of an 8 oz. wine glass.


5/18/2013 2:19:42 AM

Thanks for sharing


3/29/2013 8:10:37 PM

AMBER461's SparkPage
water is a great drink you don't have to look for any sweet drinks.


3/24/2013 8:03:32 PM

EGRAMMY's SparkPage


3/24/2013 7:07:27 PM

MONTREAL12's SparkPage
Great idea! Thank-you


3/24/2013 7:07:09 PM

We bought a sodastream machine. I make flavored seltzer water with no added sugar or sweeteners. I also can make fizzy crystal light and cola for my son with a lot less sugar than regular pop. For my coffee I use 1 ounce fat free half and have and Nectresse sweetener or Starbucks sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup. Or i make chocolate mint rooibos tea from the spice sage. Yum.

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