Sip It or Skip It: A Guide to Healthier Hydration
Whether you're trying to kick your soda habit, want to lose weight and boost your metabolism, or just want to increase your daily healthy beverage intake, we’ve found some of the best alternative sips to help you do it.
Your Morning Sips
Sip It: Fresh Fruit-Infused Water
There’s a reason we see pitchers of infused water at a spa – they’re hydrating, have few to no calories, and are infused with vitamins and minerals. You get the fruity taste without artificial flavors, chemicals, or fake ingredients, providing lasting hydration for your body and mind. What better way to infuse your summer days? These may look fancy but are simple to make: slice your favorite fruit, give it a quick muddle, and let it hang out in plain old H2O. Enjoy immediately, or if you have the patience, refrigerate overnight for more flavor to sink in.
Skip It: Fruit Juice
Fruit juice sounds healthy, right? Think again. An average cup of fruit juice has about 120 calories and 20 grams of sugar. And let’s be honest, we rarely stick to just one cup (who even has an 8 fluid ounce drinking glass?!). Fruit juices may “quench” your thirst initially, but usually end in a sugar crash later on. Not to mention, fruit juices, even the fancy cold pressed ones, are stripped of their fiber.
For an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
Sip It: Freshly Brewed Tea Over Ice
We get it, the afternoon slump can hit hard – and what you reach for can make or break the rest of the day. Freshly brewed iced tea has the perfect dose of caffeine to boost your brain power and keep you productive. Whether brewed from black or green tea leaves, it provides those free radical-fighting antioxidants we all love. Did we mention no calories or sugar?
Skip It: Bottled Iced Tea
Bottled iced tea may seem like the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, but depending on the bottle you choose, it may be more like a perfect afternoon crash. An average bottle of sweetened iced tea has about 150 calories and 30 grams of sugar (some labels we read had up to 50g!). If the sugar didn’t throw you, some bottled teas have a laundry list of ingredients including preservatives and artificial flavors, which we prefer to leave out of our bodies. Although a bottle may give you a temporary sugar rush, the crash will leave you feeling worse off than you started. Plus, these bottles usually contain less caffeine and fewer antioxidants. The right choice seems obvious.
When a Soda Craving Strikes
Sip It: Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water
Mmmm that fruity fizz is the epitome of refreshing. Sparkling water quenches your thirst and satisfies your craving for that bubbly goodness without the extra calories and sugar of soda. When you don’t feel like sipping on plain ol’ water, sparkling water is a great alternative. The flavor just isn’t strong enough for you? Add a squeeze of fresh citrus, a few slices muddled fruit, or even a cinnamon stick to spice things up.
Skip It: Diet and Regular Sodas
It may be our instinct to reach for the can of soda on a hot summer day, but let’s think again. A can of soda has about 100 calories and 25 grams of sugar. Liquid calories and sugars are the quickest way to pack on the pounds – not ideal for that summer bod. You may be thinking, what about diet soda? Sure, those don’t have calories or sugar, but they are packed with artificial sugars and chemicals that may have long term consequences on our health. Interestingly enough, research shows that people who drink diet soda tend to weigh more than people who don’t, proving that health and wellness isn’t always about calories.
After a Sweat Sesh
Sip It: Plain Coconut Water
Do you get as sweaty as we do during summer workouts? Replenishing lost electrolytes is a good call, especially if you can’t eat right away. Coconut water is a natural drink that packs in almost 500 grams of potassium in just one cup, with only about 40 calories and 10 grams of sugar. It’s extra hydrating, and makes us feel like we’re temporarily hanging on a tropical island. Aim for a plain variety with no added sugar for a post workout treat.
Skip It: Sports Drinks
Is it just us, or does it seem like every middle school PE coach made it seem like sports drinks are the magic concoction needed after every workout? Well, the ingredients tell a different story. An average sports drink has about 140 calories per bottle and a whopping 45 grams of sugar (hint: that’s 11 sugar packets). Let’s put this in perspective. You just worked your butt off running on the treadmill – you down that sports drink – and now you have to walk another hour to burn it off. No thank you! Did we mention that they are packed with artificial colors like Red 40 and Yellow 5/6 which have been linked with certain cancers and ADHD. In fact, sports drinks are completely unnecessary for exercise lasting less than 45 minutes. So, thanks Coach, but we’ll stick with coconut water.
On Those Long Summer Nights
Sip It: Tequila Soda with a Squeeze of Lime
Its only 3pm and we’re already thinking about happy hour. After a hard day’s work we often want to reach for the yummiest drink, but don’t forget that those liquid calories still count. Alcohol gets metabolized as carbs, so we want to be extra conscious of what we mix it with. Our go-to is a tequila and club soda with a squeeze of lime (or unsweetened lime juice). You still get that refreshing buzz without the added sugar and calories from mixers. Now that’s what we call happy hour.
Skip It: Margaritas
What can be so bad about tequila with lime mixer? We’re sorry to burst your margarita bubble, but they aren’t as harmless as they look. One margarita usually packs in about 300 calories and 50 grams of sugar. Yikes is right. Having two margaritas in one sitting adds up to about half of our daily calorie allowance. We know the slushy drinks can be tempting, but don’t make them a habit. When you can, opt for the healthier option and save your waistline a few inches.
For more information about this article or others, please emails us at FLIKblog@compass-usa.com.
Written by Kylie Ivanir, MS, Dietetic Intern