Healthy Eating Goes Beyond the Food You Eat
Trying to lose weight can be a struggle. Three healthy meals, healthy snacks and that’s all it takes, right? Maybe not. It’s very important to concentrate on what meals are made of. But are you sabotaging your diet by drinking unhealthy things? Changing some of the liquid habits in your diet alone holds potential benefits to your health. Below are some "danger" drinks, with healthier alternatives.
Soda: Sometimes our bodies crave sugar, and all too often we answer the call by guzzling soda instead of choosing a healthier alternative. Sugar is one of the main reasons soda is unhealthy, especially if you are trying to lose weight. It’s filled with empty calories. On average, a 12-ounce serving contains more than 110 calories and around 8-10 teaspoons of sugar! Another problem is its caffeine content, which acts as a diuretic, serving to dehydrate the body.
Tomato Juice (V8): It’s jam-packed with vitamins and minerals and tastes great. A good source of vitamins A, C and E, it also has a good amount of both calcium and potassium. Made of 100 percent vegetable juice, it starts with tomatoes, which are known for their antioxidant powers. For those concerned about their salt intake, it comes in a low-sodium version as well. If you’re looking for a little jumpstart to your day, its spicy kick is sure to provide it. For those of you who struggle to eat the recommended number of veggies, this is an easy way to consume one serving.
Coffee: Sure, a small coffee only has about 10 calories, but that’s before adding any sugar or milk. And if you drink it black? You are still putting some unhealthy substances into your body. Many people drink coffee for its caffeine, which in fact robs your body of hydration and makes it difficult to absorb vitamins. Caffeine affects bone health and hinders calcium intake. Plus, it’s addictive. If you absolutely must drink a cup to get yourself started for the day, combat this by also drinking an extra glass of water. Your body will thank you.
Green Tea: A great way to start the day instead of coffee, or even black tea, with greater nutritional benefits. Full of antioxidants, green tea actually helps to fight against heart disease and high cholesterol. It also helps to boost the immune system. Unlike coffee, green tea is not a diuretic and will not leave you dehydrated. Yes, it’s lower in caffeine, but served hot it still provides an awakening feeling. With a little honey added, it’s a slightly sweet drink that soothes you.
Alcohol: Everyone knows about the beer belly, but did you realize mixed drinks are loaded with calories and can hurt your diet plans? A Long Island Iced Tea can be just as harmful as a glass of beer. Aside from damaging the liver, alcohol causes dehydration. That is part of the reason why, after a night out on the town, your body is aching the next morning; your muscles are craving water to rehydrate themselves. Alcohol also inhibits the absorption of nutrients. Lastly, alcohol interferes with the metabolism of fat, making it the dieter’s enemy.
Smoothies: Fruit smoothies, a favorite, are packed with all kinds of nutritional goodies when made correctly. No need for ice cream and its sugar; frozen fruit provides a healthy and very sweet taste to your drink. Throw in fresh seasonal fruit and try out different flavors of yogurt to customize your favorite smoothie. They smell sweet, like a fresh-picked flower, and make you want to sit and relax after a hard day’s work.
Whole milk: Milk can be great for you, packed with all kinds of nutrients, helping to build strong bones. Whole milk (also called vitamin D) however is quite fattening. Before downing your 3 glasses a day, stop a minute to consider what kind you are ingesting.
Skim milk: This also is full of vitamin D, and of course calcium and protein. The big difference is its lower fat content. We all know that milk builds up strong bones and this is the case no matter what form you drink. Losing a bit of taste is the tradeoff. Ways to combat this are adding them to other foods, or cereal.
AND THE WINNER EVERY TIME:
Water: This is the drink of champion dieters. It helps our bodies survive, by controlling body temperature and flushing out toxins. The more hydrated your body is, the more effectively your metabolism will be able to function. If you’re looking to lose weight and get into shape, fill up your glass with some good old H20.