With our hot Queensland summers we're all more aware of our thirst and the need to replenish our fluids. Unfortunately, during the festive season the fluids flowing most freely tend to be alcohol, soft drinks, juices and iced teas. Beverages like these can be the source of hundreds of extra calories each day, and even more on days with social events. It's not uncommon for these hundreds (or thousands) of additional calories to contribute towards weight gain over the Christmas period.
But all hope is not lost! Here are our 5 tips to keep your liquid calories in check.
Most of us have had "drink more water" on our to-do list at one point or another. We know water is the best way to rehydrate and contains zero calories. However most of us have realised that actually increasing our daily water intake is easier said than done.
This summer, try one of these strategies to keep your water intake front of mind without turning hydrating into a chore:
Keep a jug of water on your desk.
Fill some bottles or a jug with water and pop them in the fridge.
Take a water bottle with you each time you leave the house.
Use a water bottle with markers to remind you when to drink and when to refill.
Set a reminder on your watch or phone, or download an app.
Dietitian Kristin's Extra Tip: Whether your next social event is morning, noon or night, try starting off with a glass of chilled water. Give yourself a moment to hydrate as well as gain awareness of your own willpower - we know those other beverages will still be there when the glass of water is finished, so why the rush?
Admittedly, no one has ever declared that water is the most exciting drink in the world. If you struggle to drink water or are feeling bored of it, here are some creative ways to whet your appetite.
Add Fresh Fruit
Fruit-infused water is not just trendy, it looks and tastes great too! Re-use an old water bottle, buy a purpose-built infuser bottle or even just use a jug. Citrusy flavours like lemon or lime are old favourites, but you can also get adventurous with a variety of other fruits or herbs.
Fizzy is Fun
If your taste buds are craving the zing of soft drinks, try fizzing your water first. We are now spoilt for choice between sparkling, mineral and soda water options on the market. These fizzy drinks contain zero calories and can hydrate you equally as well as plain old water.
A great way to enjoy some flavour on a hot day is a cold tea infusion. Simply pop one of these clever teabags into your glass or bottle and enjoy all your favourite flavours without the added calories.
Soft drinks marketed as "diet" or "zero" are better alternatives to standard soft-drinks. But if you're looking for something nice to take to a party, check out these low-calorie beverages that will feel special and satisfying but with a fraction of the calories.
Alternatively, why not make your own? Check out our Low-Calorie Virgin Mojito.
Choosing to enjoy an alcoholic beverage shouldn't feel like sacrificing your goals. Making a few considered choices can allow you to find a balance between social events and your goals - avoiding the "all or nothing" mentality that goes alongside enjoying higher-calorie foods and drinks.
Choosing "zero alcohol" or "alcohol free" drinks can be a great alternative to full strength beverages. For example, alcohol-free beers start at 45 calories per serve compared with their full-strength counterparts ranging between 85-125 calories per serve. You can see how quickly this would add up!
Below is simple comparison of beverages that fall above or below 100 calories per serve*, some of which might even surprise you!
*per serve applies to the individual bottle or can available for sale.
When choosing to drink regular-strength alcohol, consider pacing and spacing. Pace yourself by sipping slowly, adding plenty of ice to your drink and aiming for just one standard drink per hour. If you find it challenging to make your drink last the hour, space your drinks and make every other drink within the hour non-alcoholic (and preferably zero calorie).