If you know me, you know that you'll rarely see me without multiple beverages on hand. Water, coffee, water, shake, water, you get the point. It's really quite cumbersome and think Mini needs to add a few more cup holders to my Cooper! My point being is that staying hydrated is very important to replenish your muscles and organs but also sometimes thirst is confused with hunger. I suggest drinking something before eating to make sure your aren’t just thirsty. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated so drink up!
Water is of course the best choice but here I will break down and discuss what beverages are the best and worst for you in four categories: 1) Thirst quenchers 2) Cocktails 3) Pick-me-ups and 4) Liquid lunches.
I’m a big fan of Crystal Light and fresh squeezed lemonade sweetened with stevia but most store-bought lemonade is made from the same sweeteners that are in soda. Artificial sweeteners combined with preservatives and artificial color make lemonade very unappealing especially when you consider that it is about 100 calories per cup, and with the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar, and zero nutrients. You might as well have bought yourself a fun dip and added lemon-lime soda. Bottoms up....way up on the scales!
BEST: INFUSED WATER
As previously stated, nothing beats plain water for your body’s health and hydration. But if like me, you’re a little sick of plain old water try a flavor-enhanced version. However, it is important to make sure there are no artificial sweeteners, In fact artificial sweeteners can actually stoke your sweet tooth! Lord knows I don’t need to feed my enormous sweet tooth. Make sure the ingredients on your flavored water contains only water, and natural flavors.
Cocktails (I know this is the part you were waiting for):
WORST: FANCY FROZEN DRINKS
Mixers are the real calorie culprits when it comes to cocktails. According to the USDA, a 16-ounce pina colada is approximatley 880 calories. A shot of rum is around 100 calories, thus the bulk of the calories are coming from the mixers. Keep your cocktail simple. For instance, vodka and water or make a wine spritzer with wine and soda.
Here is a quick equation to help you remember: Mixers=calories
BEST: LIGHT BEER
To my disdain beer is actually the best choice. I guess I’m going to have to make myself start enjoying a cold one and put down the vodka. A recent study found that beer, including light versions, contains natural ingredients that help deposit calcium and other minerals into bone. The alcohol in beer also provides protection against heart disease and stroke, and a 12-ounce bottle of light brew will only cost you about 100 calories.
WORST: WHIPPED COFFEE DRINKS
When made with 2% milk, a large icy cup of Joe can contain up to 800 calories and a third of the maximum recommended intake for artery-clogging saturated fat. And there's a reason why it tastes so sweet: At 170 grams of sugar in a typical drink, you get more of a sugar shock than a caffeine buzz
BEST: GREEN TEA (HOT OR CHILLED)
It's calorie free and loaded with antioxidants that bring health and beauty benefits, including protection against heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and overall aging. As if those weren't enough reasons to sip up, the catechins found in green tea can shrink fat cells! One study found that the cells of regular tea drinkers have a younger biological age than those of non-drinkers. If you're not crazy about the taste, freeze 100% fruit juice in ice cube trays and toss them in. They'll add color and flavor as they melt. For maximum benefit, I suggest drinking 2 cups every morning. Let the tea steep for 15-20 minutes and drink it warm. You can add natural sweetener to the drink if you dislike the bitter taste.
WORST: GIANT FRUIT SMOOTHIE
Yes fruit is good for you, but this is serious overkill. A 32-ounce blend can pack as many as 700 calories with fewer than 2 grams of protein thanks to the high sugar content. That's like eating a whole pineapple, entire mango and 1 cup each of blueberries and strawberries in a single sitting. Why that's bad: Calories from any food get socked away in your fat cells if you eat more than you can burn.
For far fewer calories—about 120 per cup and a healthy balance of carbs, protein and fat—pour yourself a cup of kefir. In addition to the 10 grams of satiating protein and 5 grams of filling fiber, kefir contains friendly probiotic bacteria—about 10 different strains compared to 2-3 in yogurt. These good bugs have been shown to help improve digestive health, boost immunity and control body weight. And animal studies have shown that kefir is a potent cancer-fighting food