Smart Swaps for Summer Drinks

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Skinny Sipping!

Written by Natalie Nichols, Staff Writer

Sipping drinks in the summertime can really pack on the pounds. Find out how many calories you're really drinking and how you can still savor the flavors of summer for a fraction of the calories!

Skip This: Flavored Water

120 Calories in 16 oz.

Due to its sugar content, a 16-ounce bottle of flavored (sweetened) water adds 120 calories to your day. Not so refreshing!

Sip This: Water with Fresh Mint & Lime

5 calories in 16 oz.

Add flavor to your water the natural way with a squeeze of fresh citrus and a sprig of fresh mint for a low-cal alternative to the sugary stuff.

Skip That: Chocolate Milkshake

580 calories and 14 g. of fat in 16 oz.

One 16-ounce Triple Thick Chocolate Shake from McDonald's will have you gulping more calories than you'll find in a Big Mac!

Sip This: Homemade Root Beer Float

230 calories and 7 g fat per recipe below

Consume half the calories and still enjoy a creamy treat by topping 8 ounces of your favorite root beer (try diet to save even more calories) with a half cup of vanilla ice cream. Now, that's sweet!

Skip That: Sangria

150 calories in 8 oz.

Sangria may be a summer staple for many, but just 8 ounces of this chilled wine and fruit beverage will set you back 150 calories or more (due in large part to added sugar). Keep in mind that many chain restaurants serve sangria and other mixed drinks in 16-ounce glasses.

Sip This: Wine Spritzer

70 calories in 8 oz.

Mix 4 ounces of chilled wine with 4 ounces of sparkling water for a light and crisp alternative to sangria for half the calories. Try adding a twist of citrus for even more low-cal flavor.

Skip That: Sweet Tea

240 calories in a 24 oz. bottle

Tea may be filled with good-for-you antioxidants, but you'll actually get MORE antioxidants from fresh brewed tea compared to bottled. What's more, one 24-ounce bottle of store-bought sweetened iced tea contains 240 calories--and more sugar than the average soda.

Sip This: Fresh Brewed Tea

0 calories, any size

Brewing your own iced tea at home is a healthy alternative to those sugar-laden teas you buy by the bottle. If you prefer a hint of sweetness, add a squeeze of honey or citrus juice. Try this great sun tea recipe!

Skip That: Regular Cola

140 calories in a 12 oz. can

Sometimes nothing beats the heat or brings back a sense of nostalgia quite like a classic cola. But stopping at the recommended 8 ounce serving isn't all that easy--the average bottle contains at least 12 ounces. Gulp!

Sip This: Sparkling Fruit Water

10 calories in 8 oz.

Add a splash of fruit juice to 8 ounces of soda water for a sweet and bubbly beverage. Orange and grape juices work wonders in creating that nostalgic soda experience--sans the calories!

Skip That: Iced Blended Mocha

370 calories and 15 g fat in 16 oz.

Starting your morning with a 16-ounce Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks is comparable to drinking one small chocolate milkshake.

Sip This: Iced Coffee with Vanilla Syrup

90 calories, 0 g fat in 16 oz.

Wake up the right (and light) way by trading in that Frappuccino for a 16-ounce iced coffee with 4 pumps of vanilla syrup.

Skip That: Bottled Sports Drink

150 calories in a 20 oz. bottle

Sometimes nothing quenches your thirst better than a sports drink. Though these beverages offer hydration benefits due to their electrolyte content, one 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water contains 40 grams of sugar. Skip the sports drinks unless you're hydrating during or after intense exercise lasting 90 minutes or longer.

Sip This: Low-Cal Sports Drink

50 calories in a 20 oz. bottle

The good news is that you can now find lower calorie versions of your favorite sports drinks. Try a Gatorade G2 Thirst Quencher for all of the flavor without the sugar.

Skip That: Margarita

460 calories in 10 oz.

The average 10-ounce margarita contains a whopping 460 calories. And if you're a margarita connoisseur, you know that when dining out, margaritas tend to come in much larger glasses!

Sip This: Mojito

160 calories in 14 oz.

You can still imbibe in the summertime by swapping a 10-ounce margarita for a 14-ounce mint mojito. Try this refreshing recipe that's big on taste--not calories!

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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6/11/2014 11:31:30 AM

I love using my soda stream and adding freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime to my water. I f anyone can give me some more ideas please let me know.
Have a wonderful and successful day! :)


6/11/2014 11:20:57 AM

ELENNARE's SparkPage
Thank you so much, Spark, for finally posting one of these things that doesn't have the "healthy" choices full of fake sugar!

I have a water bottle with a fruit infuser in it. It's awesome for getting a bit of flavor in the water. I've been doing mostly oranges in it, but I'll have to try the lime-mint combination. That sounds really good.


6/11/2014 10:01:06 AM

ZEBBIE_D's SparkPage
Thank you for sharing loved it


6/11/2014 8:25:07 AM



6/11/2014 7:56:32 AM

Interesting & helpful. Thanks for sharing.


8/15/2013 9:37:03 AM

TPETRIE's SparkPage
thanks for sharing.


8/14/2013 6:47:18 AM

LEANMEAN2's SparkPage
Thanks for sharing.


6/12/2013 8:42:56 PM

I drink cold coconut juice. It is rich in Potassium & low In sugar. But watch the ingredients . Some company added more sugar to make it sweeter.


9/2/2011 8:22:45 PM

SKAY71's SparkPage
My favorite drink of choice is water however in the summer I tend to drink a little more juice type drinks. I realize this and so now when I feel like I want a sweet drink I will measure a quarter cup of the higher caloric drink and mix it with about 12 oz of water. I still get a little sweet taste which satisfies me. I don't do this all the time maybe two or three times a week, the rest of time it is plain water and soy milk with breakfast. Strange that in the cooler months I don't feel a need for the sweeter drinks.


9/1/2011 9:30:13 AM

good ideas


8/25/2011 3:11:07 PM

RUTHEY01's SparkPage
Thank you for the recipes for Sun Tea and Mojito.


8/4/2011 11:44:08 AM

MAMADAWG02's SparkPage
I don't like the taste of water very much....I WAS going to tell everyone about a drink that I found that had low calories, no fat, no sodium, no carbs, no sugar, no protein, etc.etc..and about how good it was ...THEN I read this ad...about the added calories...OMG...I figured it out to be about 1,200+ EXTRA calories per month... I WILL FORCE myself to drink plain ol' WATER from now on...I didn't realize that the calories really DO add up...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE WAKE UP CALL, JULIE !!!


8/2/2011 10:31:15 AM

Thereís no better time than summer to be inspired to take better care of ourselves and our bodies. I applaud this piece for highlighting several important tips to balance caloric intake during these warm and active months, however itís important to remember that foods and beverages we enjoy can still be part of our lifestyle in moderation. I always remind my clients, both individuals and corporate ones like Coca-Cola, that by using portion control and incorporating daily physical activity, all foods and beverages can be part of a balanced diet. Iíve found that any ďdietĒ that excludes these items tends to be unsuccessful because it doesnít allow people to enjoy some of their favorite things. Thatís why, in my dietetic practice, I encourage my clients to plan for special occasions and treats, and teach them to budget calories throughout the day so that they can enjoy the things they love, without feeling guilty. Julie Feldman MPH RD


7/30/2011 9:11:56 PM

Thanks for the reminders!


7/29/2011 4:33:47 PM

EGRAMMY's SparkPage
thank you

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