by Alison McAleese, LiveLighter Victoria Program Manager and Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Cutting back on sugary drinks is a great way to reduce your sugar intake, but it’s not always easy.
You might find that when you’re at work and at home, a glass of water or a cup of tea hits the spot. At social events, however, when you’re about to say to the host for the sixth time, “I’ll just have water thanks,” it can be tougher to stick to your resolutions.
For those situations when plain water just won’t cut it, here are some drink ideas to try:
Jazz up your water
If you’re at a restaurant or a bar ask for plain or sparkling water with a slice or lemon or lime. Try to steer clear of lime syrup though as it’s usually high in sugar.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines say a small glass of fruit juice can count as a serving of fruit – occasionally. A ‘small glass’ is 125mL or half a cup. This is a small amount of juice but you can mix it with sparkling water to create a refreshing drink.
A hot drink
There’s no reason not to ask for a cuppa when everyone else is drinking cool drinks. You may even find other people join you. A green or fruity tea makes a refreshing choice. Or you could use it as a chance to drink some milk for your bones and have a milky coffee instead.
A little bit of soft drink
A small soft drink once or twice a month is not going to do you any harm. You may choose to have a small drink at a party or event – preferably in a drinking glass or a 250mL can or bottle to help you watch the amount. Whether you choose to do this depends on whether you personally would find it helpful. Some people find it a welcome break to have a small treat occasionally. Others find it upsets their momentum for cutting back. Choose what works best for you.
Diet soft drink
Diet soft drink is sugar-free or occasionally low-sugar, if it contains some fruit juice. But be aware that while it’s low in kilojoules (energy), it’s still very sweet and may increase your preference for sweet drinks, or perhaps even cause you to eat more sweet foods. Diet soft drinks can be a helpful halfway point for people trying to cut back. But like soft drinks, they’re best limited to special occasions.
If you’re hosting a gathering you can make healthy drinks un-boring by making some of our LiveLighter jazzed-up waters. In summer you may also want to offer your guests fruity icy treats or tutti fruity popsicles.
For more tips to help you avoid sugary drinks, check out this factsheet on the LiveLighter website.
Featured image: Frozen fruit ice cubes