When beginning a weight loss program, most people start by cutting high-calorie and fat-laden foods. While it’s definitely beneficial (for your health and waistline) to reduce your intake of high-cal foods like french fries, ice cream, and baked goods, there is another way to reduce calories from a source that is often over-looked.
High-calorie drinks, from fruit juice to sports drinks, can pack up to 600 calories a pop. Whether you’re a coffee or cocktail fan, we’ve listed the drinks that are most likely to sabotage your weight loss — and how you can healthily replace them.
If You Love: Fruit Juice
Fruit juice may be touted as a miracle worker among the hip and health-conscious, but even 100% fruit juices can have over 20 grams of sugar (that’s almost an entire day’s worth!). If you’re craving some fruity goodness, try eating the whole fruit instead. You’ll take in fewer calories and more fiber, keeping you fuller for longer without a post-sugar crash.
Drink This: Fruit-infused Water
If whole fruit won’t cut it, try fruit-infused water. Put your favorite fruits in a pitcher of water, anywhere from an hour to overnight, and you can transform your water from boring beverage into a delicious thirst-quencher. Mix and match different fruits for endless possibilities!
If You Love: Fancy Coffee Drinks
If you’re in an afternoon slump, a fancy coffee with all the fixins’ can seem like the perfect pick-me-up. Unfortunately, these sweet drinks can pack up to 600 calories (!!) and 20 grams of fat.
Drink This: Starbucks Venti Caramel Caffe Misto
Can’t give up your afternoon Starbucks run? If you’re craving something sweet but want to save on the cals, try the Caramel Caffe Misto. A Caffe Misto is half strong brewed coffee, half foamed milk, giving you the decadent treat you crave with only a fraction of the calories (130 to be exact).
If You Love: Diet Soda
Diet soda may seem like a healthy option but it unfortunately comes with a myriad of health problems including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Drink This: Unsweetened Iced Tea
Unsweetened tea contains only two calories, while a generic package of sweetened iced tea contains about 90. If you need a pick-me-up, go for the caffeinated variety and flavor with a lemon wedge (or try mint or fruit-flavored teas). Need more encouragement to kick the soda habit? See our step by step article here.
If You Love: Sports Drinks
While sports drink commercials may lead you to believe you’ll be dunking like Mike after a few sips, most of us aren’t working out intensely enough to need the calories and carbs that sports drinks contain. Sports drinks can contain up to 300 calories and 30 grams of sugar, which would take a 30-minute run or 60-80 minute walk to burn off.
Eat This: A Banana
If you need an extra boost post-workout, try eating a banana (along with a glass of water to rehydrate). Bananas are filled with potassium, a nutrient that is lost during sweat sessions. If you’d prefer liquid (aside from the always fantastic water) try sipping on coconut water. Coconut water has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than most sports drinks. Watch your portion size, though, as coconut water can contain a lot of sugar.
If You Love: Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are meant to provide a quick and painless pick-me-up but most energy drinks are LOADED with caffeine, stimulants, and other artificial ingredients. Aside from their harmful ingredients, they can leave you with a rough post-drink crash and can cause weight gain.
Drink This: Green Tea
Green tea is considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks and is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that are great for your health. Aside from the health benefits, green tea also contains caffeine. Less than most energy drinks, green tea will still provide an energy boost without a crash afterwards.