I know I keep going on about this, but as a food lover it makes sense – one of the easiest ways to reduce your daily calorie intake is to check the calories you are drinking each day.
Alcohol, sugary fizzy drinks, milkshakes, fruit juice and smoothies all contain high levels of calories and can really sabotage any healthy eating plan. By swapping them for lower calorie options you could start to see improvements in your weight loss and health, before you even have to start changing your food diet.
So, here are the top 6 drinks I have every day instead of sugary sodas:-
I’ve never been a big fan of drinking water so it’s taken a bit of effort to start training myself to drink more. I’ve decided the best way for me is sparkling mineral water. If you buy the home-brand supermarket litre bottles then it’s not too expensive.
Alternative ways of drinking water – A jug of nice, cold tap water in the fridge or bottles/jugs of water with slices of fruit, cucumber or mint added to give it some flavour.
Beware though of shop flavoured waters – these are often flavoured with artificial ingredients and added sweetners.
2. Green Tea
Numerous studies on green tea show evidence of health benefits such as reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. It also contains antioxidants and catechins which have been linked to weight loss and reduced belly fat.
I’ve tried several different brands of pure green tea and really can’t find one I like. However, I do enjoy Twinings Lemon Green Tea, so I would suggest maybe trying some different flavoured green teas until you find one you like. It seems a shame not to make the most of all the wonderful health and weight loss benefits linked to green tea consumption.
I always start the day with a cup of black Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea, but old fashioned “builders” tea with a dash of milk is equally good and full of flavonoids, just make sure you don’t add sugar. I know celebrities all swear by hot/cold water with lemon but the citric acid from lemons dissolves your tooth enamel, so personally I don’t think that’s a good idea.
Fruit and herbal teas are another good addition to your drinks list for the day. During the winter months I have been enjoying Pukka Three Ginger Tea (nice and warming), Pukka Three Cinnamon tea (quite sweet), Jasmine tea I bought from a Chinese food store and Teapigs Liquorice and peppermint (again quite sweet).
During the summer months I might experiment with fruit teas made up in a big jug and chilled in the fridge as iced tea.
I’m a big fan of coffee but I limit my intake to about 2 or 3 small, strong cups of cappuccino per day. Again there are lots of flavonoids and antioxidants in coffee beans and calcium and nutrients from milk. But be careful you don’t go supersized with lots of added sugar, cream and flavourings or you will rack up the calories. If you are trying to lose weight then ‘go black’ to reduce the calories significantly.
I sometimes have a homemade smoothie at breakfast time. This is made up of soy milk, oats, two spoons of Greek yogurt, one banana, a handful of frozen berries and blitzed. The oats help fill me up and balance out the sugars so you get a slow release of nutrients. I’m actually less tempted to have a morning snack when I have this at breakfast time.
Again just beware of commercially produced or coffee shop smoothies which usually have lots of added sugar.
6. Pure fruit juice
Yes, I know there’s lots of sugars in fruit juice but I usually only have a small glass with breakfast. I would certainly suggest diluting fruit juice for children if you can’t get them to drink water or milk. Be very careful to read the labels on the carton though. I’ve noticed that since the pressure on drinks companies to reduce their sugar content, a lot of them have started adding sweetners to their recipes. Not only do the juices taste different, I strongly feel sweetners are bad news for our bodies.
A little note on alcohol
I have always enjoyed alcohol. Back when I was younger, I couldn’t really afford to drink much at home so it was only ever at special occasions or a night out. Now alcohol is so much cheaper and widely available in supermarkets, it’s very easy for all of us to get into a habit of having a beer or a glass of wine every night.
So, this year I have decided to try and cut back just to help shrink the muffin top belly. It was quite hard because I’d got into the ‘glass of wine with dinner routine’. I started off first by alternating each night – one night off, one night on. Then I went to no drinks on Mon/Tues/Thurs. Now, most of the time I go from Sun or Monday through to Friday (and sometimes even Saturday)with no alcohol. I have to admit I do feel better for it – much more motivated in the evening to get stuff done and I find waking up in the morning for the school run easier too. I do tend to slip a bit during school holidays, when the kids are going to bed later and we’re all relaxing together watching TV. But overall I haven’t missed it anywhere near as much as I thought I would and I definitely think I have lost a bit of weight because of it.
So, what do you think of my alternative drinks to sugary sodas? Are you already controlling your drink calorie intake or is it an area you could work on? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so send me a comment.
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Till next time x