For most people, calories are thought of in solid forms, via meat and potatoes, fruits and vegetables, and cake and ice cream. But if you’re not careful, the liquids you drink each day can add hundreds of extra calories to your daily diet without you ever knowing it.
Which drinks should you be wary of during your daily grind?
One of the easiest ways to pile unwanted calories on is through soda of any sort. And while you may think that a diet soda is better for you (it does have fewer calories), many diet soda drinkers wind up drinking more soda as a result. Do yourself a favor by skipping soda and opting for water instead.
You hit Starbucks on the way to work or school and get your morning java fix. Yes, it tastes delicious and gives your energy an instant boost, but that large café latte made with whole milk is also sending 265 calories directly to your belly. Chop the calories in half by downsizing your drink and making it a skinny, which is made with fat-free milk.
Don’t believe the hype! You work out pretty hard and are convinced that you need a sports drink to replenish everything your body loses as you exercise. Unfortunately, your conviction is nothing more than a response to good advertising. Unless you’re exercising hard and heavy for 90 minutes or more, your sports drink is leaving you with many more calories than you burned during your routine. Keep your body hydrated the old-fashioned way: with water.
Though you may consider it the healthy alterative to soda, sweet tea packs nearly 200 calories in a meager 16-ounce bottle. Unless you’re a professional marathon runner and have an extra thousand calories to use up every day, drinking sweet tea chops out a big portion of your daily calorie allotment without giving you much benefit. Substitue unsweetened green tea for added health benefits.
Quite possibly the healthiest drink around, smoothies are both delicious and nutritious. However, if you work at a desk all day and don’t take time to get to the gym, a smoothie a day may actually bring extra pounds your way. That’s because while they are very healthy, they have hundreds of calories. Drink a daily smoothie each morning in addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you can easily suffer from calorie overload. Make sure your smoothie is not just fruit and ice. A scoop of whey protein makes it extra good for you.
Whether you mojitos or margaritas, all things alcohol come with a calorie count that can easily be overlooked. To keep these calories to a minimum, watch the amount of alcohol you consume. Also, choose light beer, a small margarita, and the proper amount of wine instead of the excessive amount provided at many restaurants. BTW, if you have to indulge a bit during your bachelorette party, that’s understandable, but make sure to get right back on track the next day (once the hangover subsides).
Beyond the Drink
In addition to what you drink, how you drink and what you combine with your drink can all add up to extra unwanted calories. With a few easy steps, you can sidestep hundreds of calories.
Prepare Properly. Certain drinks work well with certain foods. Unfortunately, soda and alcohol often taste best with greasy, unhealthy foods. Instead of falling prey to such figure-killing choices, have healthy alternatives readily available and train yourself to choose healthy foods in those situations.
Go Slow. If you’re prone to drink three or four glasses of soda at a restaurant or don’t shy away from multiple drinks at the bar, you can slow down your caloric intake by breaking between each fill. When your glass is nearly empty, ask for a glass of water and don’t drink anything else until your water is gone.
Drive the Car. Have friends who enjoy getting a little rowdy at the local bar? Save yourself from joining in their calorie-rich alcoholic fun by being the designated driver. You keep your friends safe and get to hang out without worrying about adding to your calorie count.