Many of us need to watch what we consume daily to make sure we don't have too many calories… SO, why don't we remember to count calories when we drink a beverage? It may be too easy to forget those calories and too depressing to know how many calories we drink….but many of our drinks do have calories in them and do little to satisfy our hunger. I don't want my calories going to a drink when I could have a whole meal for the same number of calories… So what do you and I do to make healthy drink choices? Of course a glass of water wins hands down but many of us need “something” when we drink, so here are some healthy substitutes.
Vegetable juicing is a wonderful way to start your day or replacean afternoon snack.
There are numerous recipes for juices. many of them claim health benefits from the ingredients…Here is a basic juice that I did for years first thing in the morning:
1 cup Spinach
½ bunch Fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
3-4 leaves Romaine lettuce
3-4 stalks celery
The carrots gave me a sweet taste to my juice…If this is not sweet enough and you need it sweeter, you can add an apple or a beet. I learned that an apple is the only fruit to add to fresh vegetable juice that won’t make you full of gas.
Fruit juices are very common in our country and I try hard not to ever have any. Why? I think we have too much sugar in our diets already and it doesn’t hurt to give the body a break from sugars. Fruit juice doesn't have much of the original fiber, unless you use a blender type juicer like Nutri Bullet, which keeps the fiber in. The fiber in fruits and vegetables slows down how fast the sugar gets into our system. I always try to imagine when I want a glass of orange juice, how many fruits were needed to make that one glass of juice. I have squeezed them myself and I know it can take up to 8 small oranges to make one glass of juice. Let’s say it only takes 2 oranges to make a glass. Would you sit down and have 2 whole oranges at one time? Most of the time, NO! It would also take a lot longer to eat one whole orange verses how quickly you can drink 5 or more from a juice…. So, don’t have that fruit juice. When I started to watch the sugars I consumed, I was amazed. It takes me a conscious effort to replace them with other things. When I don’t have a lot of extra energy, I find that I reach for sugary things and I have to stop. So, instead of fruits in a drink, try vegetables or water!
Another drink I find many of us reach for is Gatorade. I am amazed how many drink this because of the taste and not because they need to replace electrolytes. Gatorade was invented to replace electrolytes lost from intense sweating for long periods of time… Now it seems that it has become a staple in our diets because of the taste alone or the availability. You can find it almost everywhere and sometime s it is more available than bottled water! Here are healthy substitutes for Gatorade: celery juice or watermelon juice. I know it is not something that you find available in a bottle, on the sidelines, but it is much healthier. If you have to have something handy, try celery sticks or fresh cubes of watermelon. Remember that Gatorade is full of high fructose corn syrup. There are numerous studies about HFCS, so I won’t go into them. Let’s just say that it is not natural. I am staying away from products that are not natural figuring, that God already decided what does and doesn’t work for my body to run efficiently. The celery helps flush out water in your body the natural way.
Always replace other drinks with fresh water when trying to clean out your system. It is amazing how many people try to avoid water! There are so many drinks out there. Many of them have the same calories as a whole meal (which is over 300 calories in my opinion). Look at the coffee drinks from Starbucks! Some are around 450 calories! I would rather eat my calories. Our bodies really don’t recognize the difference between being thirsty and hungry, so give it water. I love to put lemon in my water!!! I like to stay alkaline. At home, I add 1 tsp baking soda to my glass of water once a day to adjust my Ph also. Herbal tea can be a healthy substitute for a hot drink. Herbal teas give the brain nutrients that it needs to stay healthy. Once you research the benefits of herbs, you start to want to ingest more of them. A quick way to do it is to make a tea. Sometimes in the summer, I make a big batch of it and leave it in the refrigerator so it is readily available. . Some of my favorites are Roobios tea, licorice tea and peach tea. Iced Tea is another big beverage. Try substituting the sugar with stevia or learn to drink it unsweetened!
Instead of soda, try club soda or seltzer. (Fermented water is also an option to make at home.) You can find a seltzer button on most “serve yourself” soda machines, if you are at a lunch place. When you make a conscious decision to drink water instead of soda, consciously think of the sugar or chemicals that you are avoiding. You are making a healthy step by replacing soda with water. I also get the liter size seltzer bottles and keep them in the fridge. I make a point to drink water at night when I am sitting down relaxing and reading. Keep in mind that seltzer is more acidic. If you are watching your Ph levels, have plain water with lemon, but if you wouldn’t have water at all unless it had bubbles, make it a treat to look forward to. This is changing your mindset!
Whatever you decide, just know that starting to make small changes can help start you toward a healthier body. Change your thoughts toward wanting to be healthier and watch what happens.