Everyone who knows me knows one of my favorite mottos: “Eat your calories, don’t drink them.”
The only exception to this rule applies to individuals trying to gain weight. In that case, drinking your calories in high-calorie smoothie concoctions and natural juices is a great way to add extra calories. But for most of us AND our kids, we end up consuming way too many calories per day through our drinks.
When I am with my kids around other families, I am amazed at the absolute junk permitted as drinks for kids.
While Americans may have cut back on soda drinking, we have managed to find other avenues for drinking our calories.
Energy drinks, smoothies, sports drinks, flavored waters, and many other options may have a leg up on soda these days. And don’t forget that some parents are now buying their kids popular coffee shop concoctions, usually loaded with sugar or chemicals, and sometimes caffeine.
So, what’s the problem with this?
Let us consider some of these facts:
- One teaspoon of sugar lowers immune function for several hours after consumption (leaving the body more vulnerable to colds and other infections). Imagine what 10 teaspoons does!
- Obesity rates are epidemic in America right now.
- Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in our youth, and diet is the main factor.
- Excessive sugar and caffeine intake can lead to sleep problems, mood fluctuations, and hyperactivity.
Examples (As of November 2017)
Here are some tips for making better drink choices with your family:
#1 Depending on the size of the drink, the difference in sugar and calories between a regular tea and a sweet tea can be huge. Choose unsweet tea and sweeten it yourself with stevia or a little honey – same goes for coffee.
#2 If you do opt for a flavored, sweetened coffee, choose the smallest size to get your fix. This will save you lots of calories and reduce the sugar load. (It saves you money, too!)
#3 Don’t get duped into thinking that the “sugar-free” version of a drink is better for you. Always ask yourself this question: When an ingredient is taken out of a product, what is put in its place? Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s not a health-promoting ingredient, but instead chemical crap that inflames our body.
#4 Try not to buy tempting sugary drinks for the house. If it’s not there, the kids are left with water. Your home should always be a “base of goodness” that you can rely on for health and wellness.
#5 Set yourself up for success by drinking plenty of water throughout the day so you don’t get dehydrated and reach for those sugary drinks to quench your thirst.
Try these instead
These drinks are zero to 25 calories and have NO chemical sweeteners
- SoBe Lifewater
- Celestial Seasonings Zingers to Go
- Make your own fruit-flavored herbal tea with Stevia for sweetness
- Steaz Unsweetened Tea (Passionfruit or Dragonfruit)
- IZZE (not a zero-calorie drink, but better than some options)
- Alacer Emergen-C packs – put these in your water (they also have an Electro Mix, which is a great alternative to sugary sports drinks for rehydration)
- Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte drink
Don’t be fooled by sneaky marketing either.
Even when a product says “0 calories,” it may not equate to a healthy option.
The chemical/artificial sweeteners found in most diet products are highly inflaming and contribute to a host of aggravating symptoms that many people deal with, such as migraines, excessive hunger, joint pain, and more. Remember, water is always best for hydration… and it’s free!
I find my motto of “eat your calories, don’t drink them” to be even more applicable as the holiday season rolls around. The sugar adds up fast here… don’t let this season take you out and get you off track.
It’s not that you can’t enjoy a celebration drink every once in awhile – you just have to know how to make it without a ton of sugar. Check out this post for a low-sugar chai coffee recipe that I love!
Nutrition Fact Sources:
Starbucks Caramel Macchiato
Starbucks Strawberry Smoothie:
Motts Apple Juice:
McDonals Sweet Tea: