With the hot weather upon us, people may be reminding you to drink plenty of fluids, and they have good reason to do so. Two-thirds of our body is made up of water, thus making it important to stay hydrated. However, choosing the right beverages can make a big difference in your overall health.
It may be easy to grab a regular soda or an iced coffee out of convenience, but those calories add up quickly. A 12-ounce can of soda typically has around 150 calories and 17 grams of added sugar, and a large iced coffee from McDonald’s has a whopping 270 calories! An extra 300 calories per day consumed over the course of a month can add up to a 1 pound weight gain. Add that up over the course of a year and you can easily be drinking on 12 pounds in one year. To stay hydrated healthfully, here are some tips:
• Eat plenty of foods that are high in water content. Some fruits and vegetable with greater than 90% water content include: watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, strawberries, grapefruit, and cantaloupe, with many others right behind.
• Aim for at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of fluid per day to stay hydrated. If you are out on a hot sunny day or doing moderate to vigorous intensity exercise, this need can increase tremendously.
• Water should be your number one choice, however, some zero- or low-calorie options include: Crystal Light, unsweetened tea, regular coffee, or seltzer water if you need a flavored beverage. Drink diet soda sparingly.
• Watch portion sizes of your beverages. The difference between a small and a large beverage could be hundreds of calories! Always aim for the smaller size with drinks containing calories.
• Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men. A standard drink is considered 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of table wine, 1.5 ounces of brandy or 80-proof liquor, or 8-9 ounces of malt liquor. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, right behind fat at 9 calories per gram, making it the second densest nutrient.
• Dilute sweetened beverages such as juice with water or seltzer water for a little fizz.
• Milk can be an important source of calcium in your diet, however, the type of milk makes a world of difference. An 8 -ounce glass of whole milk contains approximately 150 calories versus an 8 ounce glass of skim milk with only 90 calories.
Give this calorie-free alternative from the California Department of Public Health a try!
1. Fill a pitcher halfway with ice
2. Add sliced cucumbers and mint
3. Finish filling with water and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving
4. Store in the refrigerator and drink within 24 hours.