What we eat and drink is directly linked to our weight. Calorie intake from beverages has more than doubled since the 1960s, primarily due to a surge in sugar-sweetened beverages. While many of us think of soda and sports drinks consumed over the summer as the biggest culprits, many popular hot winter beverages are also sugar-sweetened beverages that are sneakily adding extra calories and pounds. In many instances, these warm winter drinks are double the calories of soft drinks because they are also high in fat too. Some of the biggest offenders include hot chocolate, lattes, eggnog and chai teas! With a few drink swaps, you can save yourself a few thousand calories (and a few pounds!) over the winter.
Here are my top 3 warm winter drinks that can help you lose weight, when you drink them in moderation -- of course.
Homemade Hot Cocoa
Instead of hot chocolate from processed powder mixes, make your own cocoa. Cocoa is surprisingly one of the healthiest foods we can drink. Cocoa has two times more antioxidants than one cup of red wine and up to five times more antioxidants than tea! Unfortunately, store-bought brands are loaded with tons of artificial ingredients and sugar, which counter such health benefits. There are many versions of homemade hot chocolate, but stick to one with limited ingredients such as skim milk, cocoa powder, raw sugar and vanilla extract. And, be sure to skip whipped cream and marshmallows!
Homemade Black or Chai Tea
Instead of sugar-laden processed chai tea, make your own black/chai tea. Chai tea is traditionally made from black tea, milk, sugar and a variety of spices. It is not traditionally made from a sugar-laden powder or concentrate. Black tea is rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that offer protection to your cells from free radicals caused by aging and environmental contaminants. Also, people who drink tea regularly have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes.
Green Tea Instead of Lattes
Instead of lattes, drink green tea instead. Green tea as a replacement for lattes not only cuts calories drastically, but it can also help burn some extra fat. It is a perfect daytime drink because it is light, inexpensive and contains minimal caffeine. Not only is it helpful as a fat fighter, but green tea may have a beneficial impact on the brain’s cognitive functions too. Evidence suggests chemicals in green tea stimulate new cell formation in memory areas of the brain. Not only has that, these substances also directly boost working memory. Green tea has also been shown to block harmful proteins in Alzheimer's disease that cause memory loss.
Some traditional winter beverages can be loaded with sugar, fat and calories. Of course, a healthy diet can have some of these drinks from time to time but it should not be a staple in one’s diet. The best beverages are without any unnecessary calories, and are mostly made from water or skim milk.
Trying to eat healthy but reluctant to brave the winter cold? Try a home delivered meal from Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating. We'll deliver delicious meals that help you lose weight, right to your door!