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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6/7/2012 5:10:44 PM

Water. Water. Water. That's all you need. (Okay, a little oj, maybe some milk in the ONE cup of coffee a day, and a glass of wine with dinner....)


6/7/2012 4:14:12 PM

AUSSIEJAN2's SparkPage
I have switched to Stevia powder for sweetening. It is cheaper and better for you, is natural and requires very little. I amused to it now, and never use sugar in tea or coffee. Start half and half if it bothers you, and gradually replace the sugar. You will not miss it. I keep mine in a small shaker on the counter, and use a very light shake per mug. I buy it fro a vitamin store online. It lasts forever.


6/7/2012 9:27:55 AM

my drinks of tea or coffee do not have sugar or milk as I don't like them, my other drink is hot chocolate three tsp made with hot water. also I drink lots of water


6/6/2012 11:18:34 AM

Never, ever do low calorie drinks! Most contain aspartame and other excitotoxins which not only cause you to gain weight (due to increased appetite) but also kill your brain cells over time. Excitotoxins have been linked to diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's etc.


6/6/2012 10:51:55 AM

SLEYVA1's SparkPage
I think this is one of the HARDEST things to change. Everyone has serious preferences when it comes to liquid. Food *I* think is a little easier to change. This is going to be a hard one for me. No more Dunkin Donuts, even with with skim milk and a small amount of sugar? I'm partial to coffee during the day too. I also drink more diet coke and this is HORRIBLE for people with joint issues and diseases due to the aspartume (sp?). I KNOW this but, it's SOOOOOO good.


6/6/2012 8:39:44 AM

I started doing most of these this year! Well, except for the mock tini's. Have to have the real one!!


6/6/2012 8:33:39 AM

To help add a little flavor to water, I add a little bit of berries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries! It adds flavor, color and not a whole lot of calories. You can add them fresh or frozen...i


6/6/2012 7:30:25 AM


Aspartame is bad for you. Avoid diet drinks. And ... "Aspartame can be found in diet sodas and most other diet products. However, research indicates that the sweetener increases your hunger and can actually impede your weight loss. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid can cause spikes in insulin levels and force your body to remove the glucose from your blood stream and store it as fat. Aspartame also inhibits the production of serotonin and prevents your brain from signalling to your body that you are full. This can lead to food cravings and make it more difficult for you to lose weight."


6/6/2012 4:06:44 AM

MISSJO1958's SparkPage
I agree there is no diet reports I am a heavy diet drinker and I would really like to know?


6/4/2012 1:34:41 PM

It didn't say anything about diet soda


5/25/2012 8:19:53 PM

ONEMARINE77's SparkPage
Great facts to know


5/25/2012 1:20:19 AM

Correction please ! Please google MORINGA and not moorings


5/25/2012 12:35:19 AM

Correction please ! Please google MORINGA and not moorings


5/25/2012 12:34:36 AM

Correction please ! Please google MORINGA and not moorings


5/25/2012 12:34:20 AM

Correction please ! Please google MORINGA and not moorings

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