Beverage choices are just as important as food choices. Drinking sugary beverages can contribute unnecessary calories. Instead, reach for water first.
Here are four tips for quenching your thirst healthfully.
Drink Plenty of Refreshing Water
Water does the body good. It helps your muscles and brain stay hydrated for optimal physical and mental performance. How much water you need depends on your size and activity level; larger, more active people need more fluids. Drink enough for your urine to be mostly colorless and odor-free.
Drink Nutrient-Rich Dairy and Fortified Beverages
The calcium in dairy foods help build and maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscle mass. They also may help lower the risk of high blood pressure. For the most nutrients with the least fat and calories, look for fat-free or low-fat options. Plant-based beverages fortified with calcium also are a good option — opt for unsweetened varieties.
Drink a Maximum of 4 to 6 ounces of Juice a Day
While 100-percent juice can be a great source of several nutrients, it's possible to get too much of a good thing. Whole fruits and vegetables are much better ways to get vitamins, minerals and fluids. Actual food tends to be more satisfying, plus you get the added value of fiber and phytonutrients from the skin and pulp.
Drink Other Beverages with Care
Soft drinks, sweetened teas, fruit drinks and many sports and "energy" drinks can be high in sugar, calories and sometimes caffeine. Coffee drinks often are surprisingly high in calories, fat and sugar. Alcoholic drinks are packed with empty calories and are not nutrient dense. Here are some ways to manage drinks that add extra calories:
- Be a label reader. Check caffeine, sugar and saturated fat before you drink. If the numbers aren't on the label, check the company's website.
- Steer clear of super-charged "energy" drinks. Do not consume highly caffeinated beverages with alcohol.
- Start with a smaller portion. Moderation is always a smart way to treat your body well.