7 Tips to Make Your Hot Drinks a Lot Healthier
Hot drinks sure are a favorite in winter, popular to both children and adults alike. Well, who wouldn’t want to have a treat of hot apple cider, chocolate, or coffee in a nice cup during a chilly afternoon? In as much as we love hot beverages, we tend to forget that these are often packing with tons of calories and sugar. Children are pretty much unaware of this fact, and they quickly fill up on these drinks and end up unable to eat actual nutritious food on their next meal.
Of course, we can’t help but still crave for a sweet, hot cup while braving the season, so here are some tips that will help you enjoy your hot beverages without overindulging and taking your health for granted.
- Get a small-sized drink.
Let’s face it, regular-sized drinks are actually pretty large, and large ones can be what we’d call humongous. That’s a ton of calories and sugar in there, and that could take over your system quick and reduce your appetite during meal time. As such, it helps that you buy or request just a small cup. Better yet, get a child’s serving. This helps a lot when buying drinks in fast food restaurants, where they tend to sell sugar-laden beverages. Dunkin’ Donuts, for instance, has a hot chocolate on the menu that’s packed with 460 calories and 63 g of sugar; a small-sized version of this drink has half the numbers, and will give you half the guilt.
- When it comes to milk, choose wisely.
In some cafés, baristas would just pour in rich and creamy whole milk unless you, the customer, asks otherwise. In cafés where you have the option to ask for a different kind of milk for your drink, we recommend that you specifically request for low-fat or nonfat milk. If available, you can ask for far healthier alternative non-dairy milk like almond and soy milk. Switching to low-fat, nonfat, or non-dairy milk can help you cut back on the fat but not on the flavor.
- Have a cup of tea.
You know what’s best drank hot from a cup? Tea. Tea simply is not only very comforting but also very healthy and flavorful. You might want to try peppermint and cinnamon, both of which are known in studies to help the sugar levels in your bloodstream. If you find cinnamon tea a little unattractive, you can garnish it with a slice of orange. Feel free to experiment with a variety of blends, and even with milk. Remember, though, that tea also has caffeine, and that’s something that you ought to watch out for if you are giving that stuff to your kids.
- Take it easy with those toppings!
Toppings sure make our drinks pretty, not to mention that they’re delicious treats themselves. Well, just so you know, most of these can add a significant amount of fat, sugar, and calories to your beverage. For instance, adding whipped cream to your Starbucks order can add to it somewhere around 4.5 g of saturated fat and increasing the calorie count by 80 points. That said, you might want to go easy on the whipped cream and syrups that, while improving the flavor of your drink and the drinking experience itself, can also add plenty of junk to your cup. You should opt for healthier add-ons instead, like, for example, cinnamon, peppermint extract, or vanilla.
- It’s always better to just DIY (do-it-yourself).
The healthiest beverages are often the same ones you brew and serve at home. Give your children a demitasse cup rather than a mug, make sure that you use low fat or organic nonfat milk, add some water to dilute cider, and experiment with flavors in your kitchen cabinet. Don’t shy away from even the unlikeliest spice; you won’t know what surprising flavor awaits you. As for hot chocolate drinks, cocoa powder is always the best alternative to powdered chocolate. It’s far less sweet as well, so you do not need to worry about getting a load of sugar from it. If you ever need to sweeten it, you can use cinnamon rather than sugar or caramel.
- Have your drink to go.
Take that Starbucks cup to go and drink it during a brisk walk or during jogging intervals. Exercise always works wonders to your health, and if done with your family, could improve your relations and help you enjoy company with your loved ones.
- If you can’t resist sweet drinks, just do it once in a while.
Set a cheat day when you can have a sweet drink. Special occasions like birthday parties, weddings, and dates are great times to enjoy sweet beverages. On the side, you can also talk to your children about how important good nutrition is but that should not stop them from enjoying the good things in life from time to time.