By KATHY SMITH
Sipping on an ice-cold drink can help quench thirst and reduce the heat of the hot summer days, but cool liquid calories can add up faster than you might think.
Hydration is important, so with a little planning you can enjoy those cool beverages without seeing later regret on the scales. Choose beverages more often that have no calories or the fewest calories and the most nutritional advantages.
• Drink plain water more often. It is calorie free, healthful and readily available. Many flavored waters are loaded with sugar and labels can be deceptive. If you are not sharing a 12-ounce drink, it is 2 servings and not one which is twice the calories. If water isn’t your first choice alternate caloric drinks with plain water.
• Make your own infused flavored water minus the calories. Add fresh citrus slices from oranges, lemons and limes or crushed fresh mint. For those who like fizzy drinks, go for sparkling water and step it up with a splash of juice.
• When choosing juice to drink, make sure it is 100 percent juice. Many juices have added sweeteners such as sugar, sucrose or high fructose corn syrup. Read the label and the ingredients to find out if the juice you select is 100 percent. If you choose a fruit punch or other fruit beverage you may consume as little as 10 percent juice and lots of added sugar. Also a word of caution is to not fill up on juice in place of other healthy foods.
• Many people love flavored iced coffee beverages. The ice does not dilute the extra sugar calories from the flavored syrups and fat calories. Try drinks with fat free or low-fat milk or just plain iced coffee. Though plain iced coffee is not as much fun, it is a better choice, even if you add your own sugar.