Rethink Your Drink

Summer is here! We enjoy many fun cold drinks this time of year. Some of them taste great, but aren’t always a good choice for our health.

Many drinks have added sugars and offer little or no nutrients. Others may have nutrients, but also too much fat and too many calories. Here are some tips to help you make better drink choices.

1. Drink water

Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Regular soda, energy or sports drinks, and other sweet drinks usually have a lot of added sugar. Drinks with sugar may give us more calories than needed.

2. How much is enough?

Let thirst be your guide. Water is needed for the body, but our needs differ. Most of us get the water we need from the foods we eat and from what we drink. A healthy body can balance water needs through the day. Drink plenty of water if you are very active, live or work in hot areas, or are an older adult.

3. A low-cost choice

Water is easy on the wallet. You can save money by drinking water from the tap at home or when eating out.

4. Watch your calories

Drink water with your meals and between them too. Adults and children take in about 400 calories per day as beverages. Drinking water can help you stay within the calories needs for your body.

5. Kid-friendly drink zone

Make water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or 100% juice an easy option in your home. Have ready-to-go containers filled with water or healthy drinks cooling in the refrigerator. Place them in lunch boxes or backpacks to make it easy when kids are away from home. To help meet your fruit and veggie servings, children can drink ½ to 1 cup, and adults can drink up to 1 cup of 100% fruit or vegetable juice* each day.

6. Don’t forget your dairy**

When you choose milk, pick low-fat or fat-free milk or fortified soymilk. Each type of milk offers the same key nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, but the number of calories are very different. Older children, teens, and adults need 3 cups of milk per day. Children 4 to 8 years old need 2½ cups. Children 2 to 3 years old need 2 cups.

7. Enjoy your drink

Still! You may have a certain drink you really enjoy. So go ahead and enjoy it, but just cut back. Check the serving size and the number of servings in the can or bottle to stay within calorie needs. Choose smaller cans, cups, or glasses instead of large or supersized ones.

8. Take it with you

The good news is that water is always handy. Fill a clean, reusable water bottle and toss it in your bag or tote to quench your thirst throughout the day.

9. Read the label

Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose beverages at the grocery store. The food label and ingredients list lets you know about added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and calories. Then you are able to make better choices.

10. Look at what you drink

Food-A-Pedia, an online tool, can be found on the SuperTracker website. It can help you compare calories, added sugars, and fats in your favorite beverages. www.supertracker.usda.gov

*100% juice is part of the Fruit or Vegetable Group. Juice should make up half or less of total recommended fruit or vegetable intake.

** Milk is a part of the Dairy Group. A cup = 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.

Source: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, United States Department of Agriculture

Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

To learn more ways to live healthier, call Four Corners Health at 877-337-3573 or send an email to info@fourcorners.ne.gov.