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Biggest Loser Turlock begins a new 12-Week Individuals Challenge on January 7, 2014! You’re making a commitment to lose weight, and we’re looking forward to supporting you along the way. Check in on our blog often for weekly results, mini - challenges, and tips to help you stay on track and lead a healthy lifestyle!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Refreshing Ways to Switch from Sugary Drinks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released findings for sugary drink consumption and their results are not good.  Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet and over half of Americans have sugary drinks every day.  With research linking consumption of beverages with added sugar to an overall increase in daily caloric intake, obesity and increased risk for Type II Diabetes, sugary drinks are a public health issue.  A new campaign is calling for reducing Americans average consumption of sugary drinks to approximately 3 cans of soda per person per week by 2020.
Life's Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks
The “Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks” campaign, launched by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and other groups is targeting, “fruit-flavored beverages with little or no juice, sweetened iced teas, lemonades, energy drinks, and so-called sports drinks.” The campaign’s web site, fewersugarydrinks.org, invites individuals and families to take the Life’s Sweeter challenge to drink fewer or no sugary drinks.

How to Cut Down
Diluting sodas and fruit juices with water is one way to lessen your intake.  But a better way is to slowly cut out drinks with added sugar.  You might trade a soda for a piece of fruit and a glass of water at lunch time to start.  Steeping fruit-flavored tea bags and adding a tablespoon of honey with added ice cubes is another alternative. Try drinking more green juices as well which can be hydrating.  Celery juice with a hint of ginger is a good start.  There are bottled versions that may add apple or carrot juice as a sweetener.  While it's best to juice fruits yourself, watch the calorie count and carbs on the bottled varieties which can run into the 200 to 300 calorie range per 16 oz. bottle.

No Added Sugar Drink Recipes
To support the cause, below are 4 refreshing exchanges you can have instead of sugary drinks.  While some of these have a good amount of naturally occurring sugar from fruit, they are full of much needed vitamins and minerals.  So raise your glass and drink to your health!

Orange Cucumber Mint Water
This drink is as revitalizing as a cup of lemonade. You’ll need a pitcher with a strainer on the lid, or you can add several slices of the ingredients to each 16 oz. glass.
1 small cucumber
1 small ripe orange
4 sprigs of mint
64 oz. chilled or iced water
Cut both the cucumber and orange into thin slices and add to the pitcher of water.  Do not squeeze the orange slices.  The sprigs can be added to each glass when served. Makes 4 Servings

Watermelon Juice with a TwistThis sweet twist on soda is healthy and full of potassium to keep you hydrated.
2 liter of club soda
½ seedless watermelon (6-7 pounds)
1 lime
Juice the lime and set aside. After cutting the watermelon into 1-inch chunks and removing the rind, blend half of it into a puree with a food processor or blender and add half the club soda and lime juice. Repeat for the remaining ingredients and add to a pitcher. Chill for 2 hours or add ice cubes. Set the pitcher lid to strain when ready to serve. Makes 8 servings

Coconut Papaya Drink
This tropical drink is nutritious and sweet.
16 oz. coconut water
½ medium banana
1 large papaya sliced and peeled
Combine ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve over ice. Makes 2 servings
Fizzy Water
This drink tastes a little like an orange cream soda.
1 cup seltzer water, club soda, or fizzy mineral water
1/4 cup orange juice (as fresh as possible)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add water, orange juice, and vanilla extract to a large glass and stir.  Add ice cubes as desired. Makes 1 serving

article available on caloriecount.about.com

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