Healthy Meals in a Snap

soda-alternative200One half of Americans drink a soda or other sugary beverage each day, and 1 in 20 drinks the equivalent of more than 4 cans of soda each day. That’s the finding of a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sweetened drinks are linked to the explosion of obesity (especially childhood obesity) and its related medical problems. Of course, the American Beverage Association disputes the connection, but the data seems pretty clear. Health officials have been urging people to cut back for years, but advocates say those efforts have not been enough.

The American Heart Association, among other organizations, recently announced a new program to raise awareness, including new media campaigns like the one in LA that asks “If you wouldn’t eat 22 packs of sugar, then why are you drinking them?”

Health experts recommend that people should limit sugary drinks to about 65 calories per day. That may not seem too hard, but most people are surprised to find out that’s the equivalent of just 1/2 can of Coca-Cola!

But, lots of people just like the taste of soda. So, what can you do provide quick, healthy alternatives? Here are some ideas:

iced-tea200Make water readily available. Keep a pitcher of nice, cold water in the refrigerator. Try flavoring the water with lemon or lime slices, or whole strawberries. When you and your family are thirsty, flavored ice water is more appetizing than a warm can of soda.

Enjoy tea. There’s a virtually unlimited number of tea varieties. You can keep it simple with green tea, or try using a tea infuser with loose tea from a specialty store. Either way, it is very healthy and more satisfying than soda.

Try fruit juice with club soda. Fruit juice is better than soda, but it can be loaded with sugar and calories. Instead of drinking a whole glass of juice, try mixing equal parts juice and club soda. This cuts the sugar and calories in half, and still delivers great flavor.

juicing3200Ice your coffee. Most people only drink coffee hot, but it can be a great iced beverage too. Add just a bit of milk or flavored creamer to smooth out the flavor.

Drink your veggies. Although we advocate eating your veggies, vegetable juices can be a good alternative in some cases. Try adding a sprig of celery for some crunch.

We encourage you to try some of the above ideas for reducing soda consumption in your family. They’re quick and healthy. Best of all, they can be part of just about any healthy meal, in a snap!

chef-michael

Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
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You may also want to read: The Real Reason Behind Coke’s Anti-Obesity Ads, Obesity Rates Souring, Many Kids’ Meals Not So Healthy

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