When trying to be healthy, calories are often a main focus. We try to count them, limit them, and sometimes we obsess over them. While dealing with them can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and just downright annoying, it’s important to remember where excess, unhealthy calories come from. Sure, desserts and late-night greasy grub can get the best of us, but one perpetrator that we often fail to think about twice is a no-brainer: drinks. How many times have you guzzled a Gatorade after a workout, sipped on a regular soda during halftime of a game at the Dome, or stopped in Starbucks for a pick-me-up in the form of a caramel latte? It’s crazy how these seemingly harmless beverages can pack a punch in the form of calorie overload. Plus, they’re full of refined sugars that give you just a couple of hours’ worth of energy before making you crash hard! Even sugar-free drinks are sweetened with artificial substances that aren’t good for your body. So what’s the solution? It’s simpler than you think.
The key to keeping healthy, hydrated, and happy is to stick to natural drinks. While it’s okay to stop at Starbucks for your favorite drink every once in awhile, your daily drink routine should consist of these:
- Water. Nothing will keep you feeling more awake, energized, refreshed, and alert than good old H20. Carry a bottle with you to class and refill it throughout the day! It’s such an easy way to stay hydrated, and if you’re bored with plain water, try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime for flavor!
- Milk. A couple of glasses of milk a day will keep your bones and teeth strong, and you’ll feel fuller longer when you have milk with a meal; it stabilizes blood sugar and will stop you from craving. Skim milk is best, but 1% is good too, and soy milk is a good alternative!
- Green tea. Ever get that 3 PM slump feeling? Rather than running to the coffee pot, try a cup of green tea to wake up and avoid a crash later on in the day. Green tea is packed with antioxidants that energize and protect you from diseases like cancer and heart disease, and it even has the power to prevent cavities. Build it into your daily routine to help boost your metabolism. It’s great hot or cold, too!
- 100% natural juices. Orange, cranberry, and even tomato juice are great sources of nutrition, as they are full of vitamins. Just be sure to steer clear of sugary additives! If pulp doesn’t bother you, drink it up — the more pulp, the more fiber intake, and the fuller you’ll feel. If you want something fancier than just juice and have a blender, throw some fruit, milk or yogurt, and ice in for a delicious natural smoothie.
- Coffee. Just because you’re leaving sugary drinks by the wayside doesn’t mean you have to give up caffeine altogether! If you like it black, all the better, but for a healthy way to jazz it up, try a splash of skim milk and a packet of stevia, an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener that sweetens without any aspartame.
Replacing soda and sugary blended drinks with natural, water-based beverages in your daily routine will save your health and your wallet. What could be better? Drink up!