Watch your weight by watching your beverages.
It’s puzzling - we make healthy food choices and yet the pounds creep up. It maybe due to the sugar containing beverages consumed.
Soft drinks, fruit drinks and energy drinks contribute a large source of added sugar in our diet. It is not uncommon to consume a 16 ounce size of a sugar sweetened beverage several times a day, especially with the supersized drinks in many fast food establishment or free refills. Our body treats liquid calories differently than calories from solid foods. The calories from liquids do not give the same sense of fullness as calories from food. When we chew food the body is better at sensing that we have taken in calories and can send out signals to “stop” eating. This mechanism is not as efficient with beverages. Yet calories from liquids are just as fattening.
Artificially sweetened beverages may not be the answer either. Research is showing that people who drink diet soda tend to be heavier than those that don’t. Possibly because
the artificial sweet taste may trigger cravings for real sweet foods or drinks.
Drinks such as energy drinks, vitamin enhanced water, fruit drinks or bottled ice tea are usually promoted as better choices. A quick peak at the nutrition label tells a different story. Vitamin enhanced water can have 8 teaspoons of sugar, at 15 calories per teaspoon that adds up to 120 calories. An energy drink can have 14 teaspoons of sugar or 210 calories Coffee concoctions and smoothies are another source of abundant liquid calories. Especially those made with cream, syrups and sugar.
The key to keeping your liquid calories low is to choose drinks with no added sugar such as water, sparkling water, club soda, black coffee and tea and low fat or skim milk.
Adding some fruit juice to a calorie free beverage is a great way to cut liquid calories. In coffee, opt for skim or fat free milk, instead of cream and syrups and add your own 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. At meal time serve a broth based soup, such as vegetable or minestrone soup, as an appetizer. Studies have found people eat less, a possible explanation, might be that the liquid in the soup and the solids have a satiating effect. This might decrease the desire to consume sugary drinks during the meal.
An occasional sugary drink can be part of a healthy diet when unsweetened beverages are typical daily choices.
Two low calorie drink ideas:
Refreshing and hydrating
1. Pour 2 ounces of your favorite juice in a 16 ounce size glass and fill with a choice of water, sparkling water or club soda. Add ice if desired.
2. Combine ½ cup of water and ½ cup of low fat milk in a small saucepan, stir in 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and one or two teaspoons of sugar if desired. Enjoy either hot or cold.
Egg Lemon Soup or Greek Avgolemono
Serves:4 prep time: 5 minutes cooking time: 20 minutes
This is a traditional Greek soup. It’s light with a hint of lemon. Its smooth creamy consistency pairs well with a sandwich or as a light appetizer. This is another Greek dish my Italian family looks for.
½ cup rice or orzo pasta
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-tablespoon parsley, chopped, as garnish
1. In large saucepan, combine rice, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil give a quick stir. Reduce heat and simmer covered until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. The rice settles on the bottom and the broth is slowly added to the egg mixture as detailed in the next step.
2. In small bowl beat eggs well, stir in lemon juice. Ladle out hot broth and gradually blend into egg mixture, about 2 tablespoons for the initial blending, followed by a ¼ cup ladle at a time. Stirring immediately and continuously. Add about 2 cups of the hot broth in total. Return mixture to saucepan, stir gently and heat over low heat until soup becomes creamy and hot. Do not allow soup to boil as this may cause the eggs to curdle. Sprinkle with parsley.
Tip: The critical step in this recipe is blending the eggs into the soup without them curdling or resembling scrambled eggs. A cooking technique known as tempering helps prevent curdling and produces a rich smooth creamy consistency. This technique is also used when making puddings.
Tempering is gradually raising the temperature of a cold liquid such as eggs by slowly stirring in a hot liquid.
Total Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 160 mg
Sodium 1440 mg
Total Carbohydrate 19 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 8 g