Beverage Basics

Content by: NCES, Inc.

Need something wet and cold for your parched mouth? Or is it a little "pick me up" that you want in the morning before class?

Beverage Basics


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Sodas, milk, fruits juices, shakes, water, coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, chai tea, green tea! Take your pick…but, watch what you drink because these have calories, too.

Beverages Hits:

Water is a Winner! Whether drinking it from the tap or bottle, water is refreshing and is the number one thirst quencher. It’s great for the body, inside and out so make it your beverage of choice.

Milk is a nutrition powerhouse! Go for the low-fat or fat free varieties. Fat free chocolate milk has all the same nutrients and can be a great choice.

100% fruit juice packs a nutrition punch. These drinks supply vitamin C, and at times vitamin A. For a change of pace, mix juice with seltzer water half and half. It makes it a lighter, lower calorie, lower sugar beverage.

Tasty Tea. Unsweetened green or black? Try a variety to find the taste that you crave.

Hidden Calories:

Shakes, smoothies and frappuccinos can be trimmed of calories, if made with fat free milk and fat free frozen yogurts. Always ask for this option at restaurants. Make your own smoothies by blending your favorite frozen fruit with fat free milk for a nutrient packed, satisfying drink.

Coffee and espressos do not have a significant amount of calories while lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and mochas do.

Beverage Misses:

Sodas and fountain drinks. A 12-ounce can of regular soda on an average provides 150 calories and a 64-ounce fountain drink can contribute as much as 600 calories. If choosing a soda, consider the diet versions.

Fruit drinks are not the same as 100% fruit juice and contain as many calories as soda. Labels may say Fruit and then use cocktail or drink. Be sure to look at the label for the percentage of juice.

Energy Drinks are not your best choice. They have twice as much caffeine as soda and contain other legal stimulants like ephedrine, guarana and ginseng. These beverages have simulating properties that can boost your heart rate and blood pressure, dehydrate your body and prevent sleep. For more energy naturally, eat a healthy diet, get enough exercise and plenty of sleep.

Alcohol calories can add up very quickly, not to mention the mindless munching that often accompanies a night out.

Sports Drinks? If you want a juice-like drink that contains less sugar, try low carbohydrate sports drinks. Be sure to check the label and choose a drink with 50 calories per 8 oz. serving or less.

Beverage Tips:
- Ask for it to be prepared with fat free milk instead of whole milk.
- Remember whipped topping adds extra calories.
- Ask for sugar free flavoring and syrups instead of regular.
- If you need to sweeten it up, try using the least amount of sugar possible or an artificial sweetener.

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