Friday, May 8, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Liquid Calories

Wine Matching
The multiple whammies of alcoholic drinks

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

When trying to attain or maintain a healthy weight, be sure to keep an eye on what you drink as well as what you eat. Obviously, this include the likes of sugar- and calorie-laden sodas and fat-loaded milkshakes, but even healthy-sounding beverages such as fruit juices and sweetened teas can pack quite a wallop too. But for me, the biggest whammy would be alcoholic beverages, not only for the calories they contain, but because they also lower inhibitions and raise hunger, so I'm more likely to make unhealthy food choices and get more drinks.

Obviously, the healthy beverage of choice would be water, but hey, we all want flavor when quenching our thirsts from time-to-time, so here's some low- and no-calorie drinks that I enjoy.

- Black coffee: I didn't make the jump from sweetened lattes to these right away, but I did gradually reduced the dairy and sugars until it's OK to enjoy them plain. If you have trouble with the astringency, acidity or bitterness, try brewing with less beans or pick smoother varietals/blends.

- "Naked" teas: for same reason with coffee; again, if the teas are too harsh, use less leaves or opt for mellower kinds (e.g. green/white teas)

- Juice spritzers: mix one part juice with one part still/sparkling water for a beverage with half the calories! Not to mention more refreshing and not so saccharinely sweet.

- and, if you must, artifically-sweetened soft drinks: even neglecting all the health controversies associated with them, generally they taste "off" compared to the real deal made with sugar, and I'd much rather drink a sugar-sweetened beverage occasionally than regularly quenching my thirst with a "diet" drink. But, if you find it hard to shake the can or bottle-a-day ritual and don't mind the diet taste, it's a good transition to other healthier choices.

In regards to the alchy, one tip that's particularly useful is to order your drink with or after the meal, which reduces the opportunities you have to get unhealthy foods. And of course, like soft drinks, beverages that are sweeter and creamier will have more calories. And of course, be sure to drink plenty of water as well to offset alcohol's dehydrating effects.


Diana said...

Ugh, should have followed this advice last night! Drank too much wine and it definitely made me overeat at dinner and dessert! Yikes!