7 Best Drinking Habits for Weight Loss To Take With You Into the Winter Season
One of the best things about the winter is the abundance of yummy drinks that make a resurgence each season. The way a warm drink tastes and feels in the winter can add so much comfort and ambiance. But unfortunately, indulging in certain seasonal and holiday drinks can hurt your weight loss efforts.
"In general, we tend to drink more indulgent, sugar-sweetened, and alcoholic beverages during the holidays that add extra calories," says Bianca Tamburello, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist with FRESH Communications.
Adds Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, registered and sports dietitian in Miami, Florida, "Whether you decide to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa after a cold winter night, a warm glass of eggnog at a holiday event, or pick up a holiday-themed latte like a pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha, indulgent drinks are all around and available during this time of year. During the holiday season, more cocktails and alcoholic beverages may be enjoyed at holiday work parties or family and friend gathering events, too."
With all of these drinks in abundance, it's important to keep an eye on your sugar, calorie, and fat intake if you are trying to lose or maintain weight. To help you, here are 7 of the best drinking habits to keep in mind during the winter season, according to dietitians.
Choose 100% fruit juice
If you are at a holiday party and looking to enjoy a sweet drink, opt for fruit juice that is 100% juice with no added sugar.
"Skip sugar-added beverages and try 100% fruit juice like orange juice," says Ehsani. "100% orange juice provides you with an excellent source of vitamin C, which can help you maintain a healthy and strong immune system during the winter months (also known as cold and flu season)."
She adds that choosing a fortified orange juice is even better, since it also contains vitamin D, which is important in keeping our immune system strong, along with phytonutrients, flavonoids, and carotenoids that can also help fight inflammation and prevent illness and diseases.
Alternate alcoholic beverages with water at your next holiday gathering
Enjoy the cocktail! Just make sure to follow it up with water.
"Alcoholic beverages are often high in calories and it can be easy to lose track of the number of drinks you've had in a social setting," says Tamburello. "Instead of grabbing cocktails back-to-back, alternate with a glass of water to slow your pace and hydrate."
Choose your booze wisely
When it comes to holiday parties, you may be tempted by all the booze-filled cocktails or wine glasses offered to you. So, it's important to be choosy about your alcohol if you're trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss.
"Unfortunately, drinking alcoholic beverages can increase the amount of overall empty calories you are taking in. If you are going to drink, remember to stick to the dietary guidelines to help you maintain or even lose weight, which is no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two drinks a day for men," says Ehsani. "You could also look for a low-ABV drink or mocktail. Although these drinks may have lower amounts of alcohol, keep in mind they likely still do contain calories and have added sugar in them, too."
Choose mini bottles of wine for easy portion control
Love wine? This tip may help prevent you from over-indulging.
"An open bottle of wine makes grabbing a second and third glass all too tempting, especially when there's a fun holiday movie playing in the background," says Tamburello. "Instead, choose mini bottles for easy portion control."
Choose herbal teas
If you are looking for a warm, soothing drink that won't cost you any calories, turn to a cup of herbal tea.
"Herbal tea is a great calorie-free drink to enjoy, which can help you enjoy fun flavors of the winter season without needing to worry about drinking additional calories. There are an abundance of tea flavors out on the market like ginger, peppermint, chamomile, and fennel that can help you fight indigestion or calm down nausea," says Ehsani. "Or if you prefer something fruity, you can turn to a peach, lemon, orange, or hibiscus tea. And since they are all packed with flavor, you don't even need to drink it with added honey or sugar."
Choose nonfat milk and sugar-free syrups in your holiday coffee drinks
You can still enjoy your PSL or peppermint mocha in a lightened-up version.
"Special edition holiday coffee beverages are often high in added sugar and calories," says Tamburello. "To make these delicious drinks a little lighter, opt for nonfat or low-fat milk, or ask for a sugar-free version of the flavored syrup."
Don't forget the water!
Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, which will help your weight loss efforts. According to the Mayo Clinic, an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men, and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
"Drinking plenty of water can prevent you from overeating at meal times or reaching for late-night snacks," says Ehsani. "You may think you're hungry, when in reality you may just be dehydrated. Therefore, it is always important to make sure you are drinking plenty of water to maintain your desired weight."