Low-Calorie Summer Sippers
Let's drink to summer -- the healthy way
Healthy Beverages with NO Calories
In the interest of cutting excess calories, it behooves us all to avoid
regular sodas and other sweetened drinks when possible. The best way to do this
is to drink no-calorie beverages instead. Some of the more obvious options are
flavored mineral waters, seltzer water with a slice of lemon or lime, diet
sodas in moderate amounts, and plain tea and coffee.
It gets even better when the beverages contain substances that may help
protect your health! Green and black tea contain phytochemicals (flavonols and
catechins) thought to have health benefits. Most of the studies suggesting
cancer-protective effects have been carried out with green tea, but black tea
may also have protective qualities.
Antioxidants make up a third of the weight of dried tea leaves. And one of
these antioxidants is EGCG, which was shown to slow the buildup of
artery-clogging plaque in mice in a recent study.
Keep in mind that when it comes to the phytochemicals in tea, freshly brewed
is best. Apparently, bottled teas have less of these phytochemicals than
freshly brewed tea.
Iced Tea Tips
Iced tea is a great summer sipper as long as it isn't sweetened. I've found
that nicely flavored ice tea doesn't need any sweeteners at all. And any great
flavored tea can be turned into iced tea, just by chilling the pitcher in the
refrigerator after it is brewed.
One of my favorite iced teas is Paradise brand Tropical Tea (Premium black
tea with tropical fruit nectars), available in decaffeinated too.
If you can spare a few calories, create your own iced tea drink by blending
your favorite iced tea with 100% fruit juice or nectar. Start by mixing 1/2 cup
of ice tea with 1/2 cup of fruit juice or nectar, then taste. Add more of
either until you get it just right!
Coffee House Hints
If you are looking for zero-calorie, high-flavor beverages, coffee and tea
can fill that bill. They have no calories when you drink them in their
"brewed with nothing added" form. Trouble is, we often pump them up
with syrups, honey, sugar, whipping cream, etc.
"When we dress up coffee, we can easily go from zero calories...to
Add the word "mocha," or "caramel" to coffee, or the word
"chai" or "tazo" to tea and it's a whole different ball game.
When we dress up coffee, we can easily go from zero calories and zero grams of
fat to around 250-500 calories and around 4-18 grams of fat.
To survive the coffeehouse without breaking your calorie bank account,
follow these three general rules:
1. Skip the whipped cream. Say "yes" to "whip," and
you've just bought yourself 130 calories and 12 grams of fat (8 grams of
saturated fat and 50 mg cholesterol). I love whipping cream just as much as the
next girl, so when I feel like adding it to my drink, I ask for "light
whip" (I've found that a little goes a long way). But most of the time I
just skip it, because what I am most looking forward to is the coffee flavor of