What Should I Drink? Beverage Options
When you’re trying to lose weight, everything you put in your mouth matters—both food and beverages. Many popular beverages, such as coffee drinks, sodas, sports drinks, bottled iced teas, and juices are high in sugar, and a major source of hidden empty calories. For example, a typical 12-ounce non-diet cola contains about 150 calories and about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Cutting these sugary calories out of your diet is a ‘must’ to start losing weight!
So what should you drink?
Plain water is always a healthy choice—most people don’t drink enough water, and it has no calories—but it can get a little boring after awhile. You also might want something more festive when you entertain or go out with work mates or friends. In that case, here are some beverage options that won’t derail your weight loss efforts.
Instead of plain H2O, sip infused water. Add slices of lemons or limes to a pitcher of water in your refrigerator. As the citrus fruit sits, it infuses the water with subtle flavor. Cucumbers or mint leaves are also tasty choices.
Hot or iced, as long as it’s unsweetened, tea is great choice of calorie-free beverage. Green tea and black tea (which come from the same plant—the difference is in the processing of the leaves) have been linked with health benefits, and herbal teas come in many flavorful, caffeine-free varieties.
A simple cup of coffee is also a good choice, as long as you have no issues with caffeine. Take it black, or with a little (30 ml | 1 oz.) whole milk.
Thirsty for something bubbly? Choose plain or flavored seltzers and soda waters. This beverage category has exploded in recent years, and there are many flavored waters that are both calorie and sugar-free to choose from. Try coconut to cucumber, just to name just a few. Read labels to be sure your choice has no added sugar. You can also flavor your own plain seltzer with a splash of a water enhancer.
What about nut milks?
Many of them contain added sugars or flavorings, and should be avoided. Unsweetened ones can serve as a substitute if you’re lactose intolerant or choose not to drink cow’s milk, but most contain very little protein and don’t have the same nutritional profile as cow’s milk.
What about trendy choices like coconut water, maple water, smoothies or kombucha? While they’re better choices than soda, they all contain calories, carbohydrates, and sugar—and they may not fit in with your healthy weight loss plan. And remember, calories you drink don’t usually keep you feeling as full and satisfied as well as calories you eat.
With so many beverages to choose from, you might not even miss the sodas or juices you used to drink. And while you’re hydrating yourself, you can be assured you’re not undoing the work you’ve put into losing weight.