Put Down The Straw, Pick Up A Spoon.
That morning juice, afternoon latte, happy hour beer, and dinner cocktail add up. Some days, we drink more calories than we eat. Our bodies register drinking and eating differently, and we don’t adequately gauge how much sugar, fat, and calories we gulp down versus when we sit to eat a meal.
Unless you keep a food journal, you likely don’t track that mocha here, soda there, glass of wine (or two) at the end of a long day. Not only does the constant barrage of beverages being peddled our way make it hard lose weight and stay healthy, but many of these dehydrate us, rather than hydrate like pure and simple, water.
During the colder months, we tend to want more steaming mugs of warm liquid, but it usually comes with a whole lotta sugar, calories, and undisclosed artificial flavors, along with a hefty price tag. Our soups are a great, low-calorie warm-up on a winter day, plus they ensure you over three servings of whole vegetables in every container.
Your Body on Beverages
If you ate an extra meal in between breakfast and lunch, you’d likely have a reduced appetite and eat a smaller mid-day meal. Not so when you drink those calories. Your body doesn’t register them the same way, despite a similar (or greater) amount of calories in many of them.
Not only are a lot of beverages essentially “empty calories,” with little to no satiety, but without the act of chewing your body is kind of left in the dark about what you’re consuming and how to put it to use. Chewing helps communicate to your digestive system about what’s coming down the pipeline and activates the digestive enzymes needed to break down your food and metabolize the nutrients.
Eating slowly and mindfully is so key in the digestive process, as it allows time for you to thoroughly chew (and enjoy!) what you’re eating, instead of just horking it down. The big difference between sipping a soup and drinking a smoothie is the fact that soup is slow-cooked, and the addition of heat releases more vitamins and nutrients in many vegetables. Because soup is cooked, it can easily incorporate legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats to increase fiber intake, satiety, and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Cold smoothies give you lots of fiber and raw nutrients too, but without the real-food experience you get from soup — plus, soup will slow you down a bit so you can really appreciate each nourishing spoonful.
Mystery Calories and Stealth Sugar
We all know by now that soda goes straight to our hips and affects our brains with a roller coaster of addictive highs and pounding crashes. But the dreaded polar pop isn’t the only villain of beverages when it comes to your health and wellness.
A single cup of orange juice is 111 calories! It pumps you with sugar and doesn’t even have the good manners to impart beneficial fiber from the fruit. Which has you really missing out, because fiber helps moderate blood sugar levels and increases satiety with bulk.
We recommend: Need you bfast to-go? Start the day off with a plant-protein rich smoothie (or better yet, soup!) instead of juice. Blend the entire fruits and veggies rather than just draining them dry and throwing away their bulk. Make it super thick, throw in bits of unsweetened shredded coconut, or leave chunks of soft fruit so that you can activate digestion through chewing.
The juice shop can keep its $9 Goddess blend, and you’ll radiate by consuming more fiber, plants, and way less sugar.
Let’s talk about your fancy afternoon latte… that cream-based rosetta is pretty artsy (and we love our baristas as much as you do), but what’s hidden in your Grande cup is kinda scary: hundreds of calories and double-digit grams of sugar.
We recommend: Think about trips to the coffee shop like getting dessert. That’s basically what they are, caffeinated milk shakes, so make this a weekend treat on your No Rules day.
But if you find yourself at a cafe during the week, ask for a single pump of syrup instead of the standard, opt for a smaller cup size, and choose nut-based milk. Or skip all the fuss and have a simple black coffee or herbal tea instead. You’ll save money along with bettering your health. An easy way to stay cozy AND hydrated all day long is by sipping hot water, slices of lemon, and freshly grated ginger.
Happy hour with the coworkers tonight? Steer clear of Long Island Iced Teas and Margaritas… each has over 700 calories in a single glass! That’s as many calories as an entire day of souping. Yikes.
We recommend: Think quality over quantity, opting for a savory or classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned, French 75, or Negroni. They’re typically less calories, less sugar, and higher in alcohol — so you drink less of them. Many cocktail bars experiment with fresh herbs, reductions, and spices to impart complex flavor without adding sweetness.
If you’re more likely to choose beer or wine, select a specialty brew or glass that you’ve been wanting to try and limit yourself to one, sipping it slowly even if everyone else is pounding theirs down. This brings mindfulness and moderation to the nightlife and helps you stay on track.
Photo by Serious Eats
Forbes, The Ten Most Fattening Cocktails
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rethink Your Drink
Live Science, Stealth Assault On Health: Beverages Pack Calorie Punch
A Moment of Science, Drinking Calories, Eating Calories