Tips for Summer Drinks…Avoiding the Calorie Overload!
When it’s hot out and you are enjoying yourself with friends and family at a summer gathering It’s easy to unwittingly consume excessive calories with drinks. Not only do some drinks contain more calories than we think, salty barbecue foods and snacks can also create a huge thirst. Before you know it we’ve had more soda or juice than our calorie allotment for the day can bear.
It’s important to stay properly hydrated during the hot summer months so don’t shy away from liquids, just be sugar and salt aware. By keeping these factors in mind you can plan what you are going to drink in advance. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Quench your thirst on water or sugar-free drinks. Each 12-oz serving of regular soda contains some 160 calories and the equivalent of 10 level teaspoons of sugar. And each 12-oz regular beer contains, on average, 150 calories – equivalent to around 2 thin slices of bread. Over several hours, it is possible to drink as many calories as might be obtained from your meal.
Fruit juice (even without added sugar), is a concentrated source of fruit sugars and hence calories. Just one 8-oz cup of orange juice contains the calories of some 2-3 oranges; and 3 cups has 6-9 oranges – more fruit than a person would sit down and eat, but can very easily drink! Certainly, enjoy a small glass of juice but quench your thirst on water.
Iced tea without added sugar is also a refreshing drink. It can be sweetened with non-sugar sweeteners such as Splenda, Nutrasweet or a stevia-based sweetener.
Avoid those calorie and fat laden frappuccino mochas and mocha chillers. Go for “skinny” low-fat versions of iced coffee without the cream and sugar.
Tomato juice is low in calories but be aware of the very high sodium content of commercial brands. This is due to salt being added for taste. Just one 8-oz cup contains around 750 milligrams of sodium – half of the recommended maximum daily sodium intake of 1500 mg.
Alcoholic drinks, like soft drinks, can quickly add more calories than you realize. Alcohol relaxes inhibitions and the dieter’s resolve! As a result, you are more likely to overindulge in high-calorie foods.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you to choose to drink alcohol at a summertime gathering:
• Quench your thirst with water. Have a water spacer between drinks. Make your glass of wine a “spritzer” by adding sparkling water to cut the empty calories you get from alcohol.
• Be wary of cream-based cocktails. That pina colada may sound refreshing, but with the added coconut cream you could be in for as much as 325 calories and 10 grams of fat. And that Kahlua Mudslide (with cream) could set you back 230 calories and 12 grams of fat.
• Be a “sipper” to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. Consume your drinks slowly and thoughtfully; remember, that alcohol dehydrates. This can be another vicious circle: the more you drink, the thirstier you feel, so the more you drink.
Important Note on Salty Foods and Thirst:
Many barbecue foods are very high in salt/sodium – especially franks, sausages, meat marinades, condiments, salad dressings, salty snacks, and tomato juice. Excessive sodium intake can create a profound thirst that may last for several hours after the barbecue.
Without realizing it, one could easily consume an extra 500 – 1000 calories if soda, beer or fruit juice is freely drunk. Of course, water is the best calorie-free fluid with which to quench one’s thirst.
Note: Persons with high blood pressure will also want to avoid a high sodium intake. The American Heart Association recommends an intake of less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Just one salty meal can easily exceed the recommended maximum daily amount.