Sugary drinks are a big reason why people gain weight and have other health problems. Here are five healthy choices to sugary drinks that will help you give them up for good.
It may seem like the end of the world to give up your sweet chai latte in favor of chai tea with warmed milk. On the other hand, making changes to your diet might be easier and more tasty than you think.
Amanda Nash, a certified dietitian with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, says that “sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugar in our diet.” Sugary drinks are ones like sweet iced coffees, energy drinks, sodas, and fruit juices that have a lot of sugar in them.
Compared to solid foods with the same number of calories, sugary drinks often don’t fill hunger as well. You can drink a sweet drink with hundreds of calories and still feel hungry and eat like you haven’t eaten anything. “That’s really how sugar-sweetened drinks can add extra calories to your diet,” says Nash.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation says that less than 10% of your daily calories should come from sugar. Nash adds more information by saying that 10% of a normal 2,000-calorie meal is 48 grams. This might seem like a lot, but keep in mind that a can of soda has about 35 grams of sugar.
“Use almond or coconut milk blended with one cup of berries or other frozen fruit per serving,” suggests Sara Jafari, a registered dietitian based in Toronto. Check the label to make sure the coconut or almond milk is unsweetened – most have added sugar.
2. Homemade iced tea
Leave the sugar-sweetened iced tea on the shelves. “Brew a naturally sweet tea like apple cinnamon tea, mint tea or berry tea,” says Nash. Leave the tea bags in and let it chill in the fridge overnight. You could even make a fizzy iced tea by adding soda water to you homemade iced tea
3. Carbonated water
If you love drinking pop, then carbonated water is a great option for you. Nash suggests livening up your water by adding lemon, lime, grapefruit, fresh berries, mint or herbs. Even a splash of fruit juice will help to minimize your sugar intake.
4. Chocolate and white milk combo
Although plain milk or a milk alternative, like soy, almond or coconut milk, should always be the first choice, some people can’t escape their sweet tooth. If you really like flavoured beverages, fill a glass with half chocolate milk and half white milk. Plain milk contains important vitamins and minerals. It also leaves you feeling full!
5. Herbal tea
If you want a delicious hot drink, then herbal tea is the way to go. Teas can be sugary beverages, depending on how you prepare them, so make sure you take it plain. You’ll find adding extra sugar isn’t necessary because it already has a sweet flavor. With no added sugar, it can be a healthy way to satisfy your craving for a hot beverage. Some great herbal tea options are ginger, dandelion, hibiscus and rooibos.