As we move along into healthy week, I thought I’d do a little roundup of drink information for you. A few years back when I was still living in Coppell, Texas I started trying to live a healthier life. I was running to the gym every other day and supplementing meals with smoothies. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing weight. I was doing everything right…or so I thought. The smoothie was actually my problem….
You see I picked up a smoothie from the gym’s attached smoothie shop and chose on taste preferences, not on carefully researched information. I figured I’d upsize since I was choosing a “healthy” smoothie drink over a value meal. I chose the 32 oz Peanut Butter Smoothie. It was rich, thick, and filled me up nicely. But I wasn’t losing weight, I was gaining as the weeks wore on.
One day at the Starbucks I managed, a customer asked to see the nutritional information of a drink she regularly ordered. She was shocked to find her twice a day treat contained over 600 calories. After that revelation we decided to promote customers to actually look into the nutritional information of some of the drinks they regularly consumed. The next time I was at the smoothie shop I decided to follow suit. I was equally horrified to find out that my “healthy” smoothie contained over 1200 Calories!!! A BIG MAC has only 450, fries around 220, and a coke around 150-200. Ignoring what that meal would do to my internal parts, it’s stunning to think from a raw weight gain/loss standpoint I was better off with the McDonald’s meal over the smoothie.
Here are some other Healthy Drink Pointers for you.
So maybe I chose unwisely up top, but there are healthy smoothies out there. Look for recipes from reputable sources that also post calorie information. If you visit a shop ask to see their nutritional charts, if they don’t have them, choose another smoothie stand… they might be so tasty because they add in some unhealthy options to bring you back.
Healthy Smoothies from Eating Well
The healthiest drink at Starbucks (or other coffee shop) is an espresso shot followed by the plain ole drip coffee. A tall coffee has only around 100-150 calories. An Americano (half coffee half hot water) is also a very healthy option. Next up is the Cappuccino due to the fact that the milk is heavily foamed and not as dense as the regular Latte (same exact ingredients, just different heating of the milk). The Coffee Frappuccino Blended Coffee (not “frap” – how’s that for remembering my Starbucks brand awareness training?) is actually quite low for what it is at around only 240 Calories or so.
The Venti’s on some drinks get quickly into the 3-400 calorie range so keep your drinks small. Avoid the added whip creams and ask for less pumps of the sweeteners if you can handle a stronger coffee flavor. Ask for non-fat milk instead of whole….I don’t remember exactly but part of me feels like the Soy milk actually has more calories, but I would need to see the fact sheet again. Stay away from the Universal Beverage Base Drinks at all cost (Frappuccino Blended Creams). They are made with non-fat milk, but are the worse drink items on the menu. I don’t think they still carry this drink, but there was a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Cream and I think the Venti of that topped in at over 750 calories if not more with all the whip, chocolate drizzle, etc.
NY Times on Health Benefits of Coffee
Wine is everyone’s darling these days thanks to many published health reports stating it’s benefits. Everyone can quote some fact on red wine, but they often miss the fine print. Any benefits you gain from wine are quickly lost when you head over the two glass of day recommendation. The long-term negative benefits to your body when you go over two greatly outweigh the benefits gained. To quote from Winepros.org:
The keys to the beneficial aspects of wine drinking are regularity and moderation. The importance of this pattern of consumption this is almost impossible to over-emphasize. Overindulgence can be considerably more harmful than total abstinence.
This should be fairly obvious, but many people ignore water throughout their days, particularly here in hot, humid Asia. There’s debate going on right now as to some effects of water and how much should come from other sources such as fruits and others, but there’s no debate that we need it in our lives. So occasionally try to ignore the other drinks and opt for a glass of plain old water.
Mayo Clinic on Water
I don’t think we need to sell our Asian readers on the benefits of Tea. The history with Teas here goes back many generations. For our non-Asian readers here are some links explaining why you should add more Tea into your daily routine…and for my faithful Texas readers it’s not just about the differences between “Sweet” and “Non-Sweet” Tea
Tea Association of the USA
Tea & Health Wiki