The following tips come from Sonal Hill, registered dietitian, UC Health Weight Loss Center.
Water is the beverage of choice for weight loss; however, variety is the spice of life! Recommended daily water intake is at least 64 ounces for optimal hydration and health. After that, we encourage calorie-free or low-calorie (less than 10 calories) options for those interested in weight loss or weight maintenance.
Try naturally flavored waters. Add sliced fruits or vegetables and spices to water and soak overnight in the fridge. Ideas include raspberry and lime, pineapple and mint, sliced apples and cinnamon sticks, watermelon and rosemary or cucumber.
Alcohol provides empty calories that do not promote weight loss. Two glasses of wine can add 250-400 calories to your evening. Mixed drinks can be loaded with calories and sugar and can contain 300 to 1,000 or more calories!
Try lower-calorie party drinks. Blend frozen strawberries with sugar-free lemonade for lower-calorie, nada-margaritas.
Coffee drinks can be higher in calories, fat and sugar than traditional desserts. Always carefully read the food labels on premade coffee beverages, creamers and nutritional websites at retail coffee shops so that you are aware of the calories contained in their products. A medium serving of a flavored coffee drink from a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop can be up to 550 calories.
Try calorie-free flavored coffees. Choices include black coffee with sugar-free syrup or flavored regular or decaf coffees without calories.
Try “creaming” your coffee with skim, 1% milk or an unsweetened milk alternative. You can also make your own coffee drinks by adding instant coffee and calorie-free sweetener to a cup of warm skim or 1% milk or unsweetened milk alternative (such as almond, coconut or soy, which have fewer than 50 calories per serving).
Be aware of what you drink. Calories from beverages can sneak into your diet and can contribute to weight gain. Reading food labels and tracking food and drink intake are the best way to know the ingredients of your preferred beverages.
Cheers to a healthy and hydrated lifestyle!