Rethink Your Drink
One way to cut calories is through your drink choices. Drinks don’t fill you up the way food does and they often have a lot of hidden and unexpected calories that can really add up! But here’s the good news: If you drink smaller portions and replace drinks that are high in calories with drinks that have low or no calories, you can save hundreds of calories a day!
Let’s take a look:
Instead of drinking your usual medium or grande latte with whole milk, choose a small or tall latte with skim milk. This can save you 140 calories. You’ll save even more calories if you ditch the whipped cream and flavored syrups or choose sugar-free syrups instead. You could always just try a plain cup of black coffee, too – which only has 2 calories per cup.
If you drink a 20 fl oz bottle of regular soda pop you’re looking at about 250 calories, but a glass of sparkling water with a splash of 100% fruit juice has only 30 calories. That’s a big difference!
Instead of a 16 fl oz sweetened iced tea try an unsweetened iced tea with a slice of lemon or lime – this will save you 180 calories.
Also pay close attention to Nutrition Fact labels on your beverages as they can be really confusing. Here’s the Nutrition Facts label on a 20 fl oz bottle of soda pop. It says that one serving is 8 ounces. It tells you that there are 2½ servings in the bottle and it lists the calories in one serving as 100 calories. To figure out the calories in the whole bottle, multiply the calories in one serving by the number of servings in the bottle: 100 times 2½. Therefore, if you were to drink the whole bottle, you would take in 250 calories. If you instead choose a 12 fl oz can or bottle you’ll drink 140-180 calories, which is a savings of 100 calories from the bigger bottle. That’s the good kind of downsizing!
Remember that water, sparkling water, and unsweetened iced tea have zero calories. To add more flavor to water you can always add in slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, watermelon or some fresh mint, basil or rosemary. You can also try no-calorie drink mix like Crystal Lite or Mio drops to add flavor to your water.
Better drink choices:
- Choose water or sparkling water
- Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water
- Carry a water bottle and refill it all day long
- Flavor water with a no-calorie drink mix
- Add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon to plain or sparkling water
- Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge
- Put your pitcher of water on the table during meals so you see it
- When you do get drinks that contain sugar, choose the smallest size you can get
Reviewed by Emily Matson, MS, RDN
on June 9, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.