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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Be Beverage Smart

Versatile drinks that hydrate and nourish.

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Fruit SmoothiesAbout two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered in water, and 60-70 percent of your body is made up of water. Therefore, it is obvious that this liquid is essential for life. You’ve probably been lectured on the importance of hydration so many times that drinking water seems more like a task than a refreshment. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why so many people reach for the soda can instead—we want something more exciting and flavorful.

While I would never knock the practice of getting enough water, I can tell you about some other beverages that can not only contribute to your hydration levels but can also yield some great nutritional benefits.

  • Smoothies are refreshing and so versatile. You can get your daily serving of fruits or vegetables easily in one drink! Consider giving your drink a boost with protein powder to promote muscle growth and keep you feeling full longer. You could also add ground flax seed for protein, fiber, and Omega-3 ALA. The flavor combinations are virtually endless!  I make them at home, or, when I’m out, I’ve been known to hit up Jamba Juice for their Fruit and Veggie Smoothies, or my fave: Thrivin’ Mango Probiotic Yogurt Smoothie.
  • Coffee and tea sometimes get a bad reputation. Sure, the whole teeth-staining thing is a turn-off, but I’m willing to bet that you know how to use a toothbrush. So long as you drink in moderation and are conscious about what you add to your beverage, you can actually benefit from these breakfast staples. Coffee and tea are both known to contain antioxidants and are naturally calorie-free! With all of the different varieties out there, you can still experience flavor without the calories. If you want to sweeten the taste, go ahead and add a little sugar, honey, or calorie-free sweetener.
  • Get juiced! And by juiced, I mean the old-school way (with fruits and vegetables), not the Jersey Shore way. Drinking fruit juice will contribute to your daily produce quota and can be a sweet treat if you know how to choose the right one. To ensure you get all of the nutritional benefits from your drink, always reach for the 100 percent juice option. There are so many options when it comes to juice—from Concord grape to pomegranate to tomato or classic OJ—and they all contain vitamins essential to your health.

There are several liquids you can feel good about drinking—you just have to be “beverage smart.” To get the skinny on the most common pitfalls of beverage choices (and how to make the healthiest decision) check out my blog entry on Liquid Calories.

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Tags: Hydration , Nutrition

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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