Choose This Instead of That: Part 1 Beverages
By Nurse Kimberly
How can we stop making our kids fat? That was the headline of a news segment on CNN this week. The segment featured Chef Domenica Catelli. She explained how many of the foods parents are feeding their kids are contributing to their weight. Expecting kids to give up all of their favorite foods and treats in just not reasonable. Also, as adults we should be able to indulge is some guilty pleasures from time to time and on special occasions. The key to enjoying our favorite foods and beverages is to substitute healthy alternatives or modify our recipes.
Many foods are falsely marketed and advertised as being healthy. One way to know whether or not a food item is healthy is to look at the food label. Pay close attention to the ingredients. If you are not able to pronounce or identify many of the ingredients, chances are it’s not good for you or your family. For example, pre-packaged fruit snacks, breakfast bars, and the very popular 100 calorie snack packs are very misleading. The packaging is very inviting. Who wouldn’t want to have a double chocolate fudge breakfast bar that only has 90 calories, or a 100 snack pack of Oreo cookies with milk? But what are the ingredients that make up these items? What allows them to have such a long shelf life?
Because many popular food choices are not the healthiest it is necessary to try and find replacements for them or make adjustments in how you prepare them. Eat this not that has become a common theme in creating healthier lifestyles. Shows like The Biggest Loser and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution have both presented ways to prepare some of the unhealthy foods people love in a healthy way.
What are some of the most popular yet not so healthy foods that you eat? Beverages that you drink? I did a little research and was shocked! Some of the foods and beverages I looked up had over triple the amount of sugar and calories I had estimated. In order to help families make healthier choices I decided to share what I found. In Part 1 of “Choose This Instead of That” you’ll learn the truth about five beverages.
Coffee is part of my morning routine. I have at least two cups every morning with a splash of cream. But sometimes when I see a flavored latte with whip cream on top it really makes me want one. After reading about Starbucks lattes I was immediately thankful that I am not a regular latte drinker. A Starbucks white chocolate mocha venti latte has 580 calories! If this is one of your daily favorites and you can’t give it up you should know how to modify it.
My first suggestion would be to wean yourself away from sugary beverages all together. A few years ago I added large amounts of French vanilla creamer to my coffee everyday. Once I learned how much sugar and calories were it contained, I knew there was no place for it in my diet if I wanted to lose weight. If you refuse to give it up, modify it by requesting to have it made with non-fat milk and sugar free syrups.
Berry Delicious! Berry Healthy, if they are made right. This is one of those tricky and misleading things. Look at the Smoothie King franchise. Most of their 20oz smoothies contain more sugar than soda. In addition to all of the added sugar they are high in calories. One of their 20oz smoothies has over 1000 calories. The majority of Smoothie King’s fruit smoothies have anywhere from 350 to 550 calories. Most of their smoothies do have some fiber, but if you make your own smoothie you could over double the amount of fiber!
This is how I make a truly healthy smoothie that is low in both sugar and calories. Pick two to three of your favorite fruits. Combining frozen strawberries and blueberries is one of my favorites. In a blender place one half cup of frozen strawberries, one half cup of frozen blueberries, and a 6 ounce container of vanilla Greek yogurt. Add a little ice and water as needed to get the perfect consistency. There is a large selection of healthy smoothie recipes on the web that are not made with added juice and sugars. Make sure to share some of your favorite healthy fruit smoothie recipes.
Sweet Tea and Lemonade-
Professor Jay already explained that fruit juice and soda are equally not healthy choices. In fact, some fruit juices that claim to be 100% fruit juice have more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola. Because sweet tea and lemonade are offered at most restaurants, I was curious about how much sugar they contain. A large sweet tea from McDonalds contains 280 calories and 69 grams of sugar. That is more than some sodas. At Chick-fil-a, a large lemonade has 390 calories and 93 grams of sugar! So if you are trying to make better choices my advice is drink water. But if you want to indulge, either have a small diet lemonade or order an unsweetened ice tea and add one sugar packet to it. Everything about food and beverages in this country is always taken to the extreme, supersized. You can still enjoy tasty things without going overboard.
The last beverage I looked up was ice cream milkshakes. When I was little this was one of my favorites. I could make a milk-shake that was out of this world! However, at the time I was unaware of the damage I was doing to my body by drinking them on a regular basis. Most people do not drink milkshakes on a regular basis. That’s a good thing because look at some of the numbers I found. At Steak-N-Shake one regular size chocolate milkshake has 710 calories and 101 grams of sugar. Dairy Queen’s medium chocolate milkshake has 760 calories and 129 grams of sugar. The most shocking of all was White Castle’s chocolate milkshake. One large chocolate milkshake from White Castle has 1150 calories and 189 grams of sugar.
The bottom line is you just need to be aware of what you are eating and drinking. If one cafe mocha a week is your sweet treat then enjoy it. If you have a cafe mocha every morning, you might want to reconsider. All of those grams of sugar and calories add up over time and don’t provide your body with the real nutrients it needs. If you are unsure about a specific beverage or food, look it up or ask. Most food and beverage companies and restaurants are putting all of their nutritional information on-line and on hand outs. Make sure to read Part 2 where you can find out the truth about some of your favorite foods. If any of your favorite beverages nutritional information has shocked you please leave a comment below. Sharing good information will help us all make healthier choices. Also, we have a few other recipes on FACEBOOK if you want some other healthy options!