I don't know what it's like where you live, but it's been really hot here. It seems to me with every passing summer, I am more thankful for air conditioning. As soon as it gets hot, many of us start craving icy and sweet foods and drinks. If good health is your goal, you to be aware of what's in these treats before indulging.
Water is the perfect hydrator: everything liquid with zero calories. Its exactly what every cell in your body wants and needs. We certainly need to be drinking plenty on these hot days. But sometimes you may simply want something else, something with flavor.
Unsweetened ice tea is a great calorie free drink. Experiment with a variety of green, herbal or black teas for different flavors. The green tea brings along antioxidant power, an added bonus. Get your sun tea jar out of storage and put it to use. Diet soda is option, although carbonated drinks don't seem to be as refreshing, and all contain artificial sweeteners, which some people choose to avoid.
Trouble can start brewing when we start reaching for sugary treats. With every teaspoon of sugar or syrup added, 15 calories come along with it. One 12 oz can of soda contains more than 10 teaspoons of sugar and 160 calories. That's just a small serving in most places. Reach for a large 32 oz and you're slurping up 310 calories over ice. And, you could get that 44 oz cup. Keep in mind, if you consume just 150 calories more each day than your body needs, you could see a 15 pound body fat gain in one year.
Kids of all ages love frozen Slurpee drinks. The more vibrant colors and flavors the better. Even an extra small 8 oz cup delivers 65 calories. A full 44 oz icy will almost hit 400 calories. All from sugar. While unsweetened tea is fine don't forget that sweetened ice tea has 10 calories for every ounce: 320 calories for a 32 oz drink!
More fun arrives when we head out for ice cream: soft serve or hand dipped. A small McDonald's vanilla cone is 150 calories while same size DQ is 230. Small cones can be a bit easier to fit into your healthy eating program. Reaching for the sundae can pack on 330 - 650 calories, depending on the size. Shakes, smoothies and frappes may sound healthier, but beware. That sweet, creamy, cold large hot fudge shake at McDonald's brings with it 1020 calories. The small DQ cookie dough Blizzard is 420 and the large 1420 calories. That can be all the calories provided in a day for some women on weight loss programs!
The bottom line:
- In hot weather, it's important to stay well hydrated throughout the day.
- Reach for water most often.
- Use non-caloric beverages for variety if you wish.
- For the occasional icy or frozen treat keep on key word on your lips: small. Smaller size servings deliver fewer grams of sugar and calories, and may even end up delivering a smaller you!