Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Smart Thinking about Drinking

Beau-tea-ful!!! I was introduced to a deliciously smart iced tea idea recently at the blissful Amanyara Resort in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos where the tea is blended with ice to create a beautifully presented refreshing frozen beverage in a tall glass garnished with lime.
Hot weather trimming your appetite? But, you’re still not losing weight. Hmmm, maybe it was something you drank? The first line of diet defense in the battle of the bulge focuses primarily on food choices. And while we still need to watch our plates, we may need to add a serious look at our glasses, cups and car’s drink holders. It turns out that beverages play a significant role in supplying the excess calories that can cause weight gain. Researchers who watch what we drink and how much found that on average 22% of the calories we consume are the ones we drink. And too often, they're calories from soft drinks and other sugary beverages.
So, what should we do to control the liquid portion of portion control? First of all think before you drink. That “free-refill” of sweet tea may be costing you a belt notch or two over time. Here’s what to consider when you're adding a soft drink to your fast food combo, grabbing a fruit juice out of the cooler at your favorite sandwich place or when the server asks, “What would you like to drink?”

Water’s the Winner- Water is of course calorie free and the ultimate thirst quencher. But, if you think it can be a bit boring, add a splash of fruit juice to make your own flavored water. Zero calorie fruit flavored waters with no added sugars are a good choice, too.
Enhanced Waters- These products add everything from herbs to vitamins to the watery mix. Many are artificially sweetened to keep calorie levels down, but make sure to read Nutrition Facts label and choose one with less than 20 calories per 8 ounce serving.
Sports Drinks- They may be associated with winning big on the tennis court or cooling you down after mowing the lawn, but their dehydration fighting electrolytes come with a calorie price tag because of their sugar content. So, you might try the new crop of artificially sweetened lower calorie sports drinks available today.
Coffee/Tea- Calorie-free all by themselves, coffee and tea gain weight when you add sugar and cream. Choose non fat or low fat milk and watch the sugar and honey factor.
And even though pitchers of free flowing super sugary sweet tea are a Southern institution, why not update tradition and ask for a customized mix? Try 90% unsweetened and 10% sweet tea in your glass. You’ll save hundreds of calories and you still get a hint of sweet tea taste. At fast food places, I add a splash of lemonade to the unsweetened ice tea.

Milk- USDA diet guidelines recommend we consume three cups of milk per day for good health. Ever try low fat chocolate milk over ice? Close your eyes and think chocolate milk shake and save hundreds of calories.
Fruit Juices- Full of nutrients but relatively high in calories per ounce. I make a 50/50 mix of 4 ounces orange juice with 4 ounces of sparkling water to cut calories and get some good nutrition. A serving of fruit juice is 4 ounces not a 36 ounce tumbler!
Soft Drinks – Count about 150 calories for a 12 ounce can of soda. Diet drinks are calorie free. There are no nutrients in either choice, but if you're a soft drink fan and drink more than three cans a day -or drive around with a 36 ounce ‘big gulp’ in your car- you can cut 450 calories a day when substituting the diet version. In fact you'd lose about a pound each week.


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