The 6 Worst Summer Beverage Blunders

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

As temperatures rise, you may find yourself reaching for a drink to cool down. While it’s incredibly important to stay hydrated in the heat of the summer, the drink you choose can make a huge difference to your waistline. If you’re constantly grabbing for sugar-laden beverages, it’s easy to drink a day’s worth of calories before you even take a bite of food. As often as possible, choose water. If you have a sweet tooth, get creative by sweetening it with different types of chopped fruit. If it’s bubbles you’re craving, try seltzer with a fruity addition like chopped strawberries. If it’s bold flavor you want, try unsweetened ice tea. Of course we know you’ll want to splurge from time to time, and that’s okay. After all, summer is about having fun. Still, it’s best to avoid these six biggest summer drink blunders—or at least opt for a healthier version.

1. Piña Coladas
This tropical smoothie is synonymous with summer. And yet it’s also one of the worst offenders when it comes to calorie- and fat-laden beverages. Even as a small virgin drink, the piña colada is chock-full of sugar. Take, for instance, the Julius® brand version of a small piña colada. It has 380 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. The large version doubles those numbers to 760 calories and 9 grams of fat. This fruity drink may transport you to the islands but won’t leave you feeling bikini-ready.

2. Beer
Whether you’re at a summer picnic, hanging on the beach, or sitting poolside, chances are your cooler is packed with some cold brews. But whenever possible, choose the light variety. A regular can of beer has about 153 calories but you can drop 50 of those calories by opting for the light version. The biggest problem with beer as a summer beverage is the fact that drinkers rarely stop at just one and those 150 calorie cans quickly add up.

3. Milkshakes
Whether you’re strolling the boardwalk or just get a craving while driving around town, a creamy milkshake may sound delicious but it can easily be a diet destroyer. A small McCafé Strawberry shake contains 520 calories and 15 grams of fat. Plus, it has a whopping 74 grams of sugar (to put that into perspective, picture 19 teaspoons of sugar!). If you’re really craving the creaminess of a shake, make it in your home blender and keep the ingredients healthy.

4. Frappuccinos
This popular, blended coffee drink is rich with taste but probably not worth all the calories and fat it packs in. Take, for instance, the Starbucks S’mores Frappuccino®, which pretty much sounds like the quintessential summer drink. The small (“tall”) version has 330 calories, 14 grams of fat and a not-so-sweet 43 grams of sugar—that’s the equivalent of 11 teaspoons of sugar!). All that sugar, cream, and artificial flavoring can wreak havoc on your diet. An iced coffee with a splash of milk or flavored cream can at least give you that bold flavor you crave without all the fat and calories. Even if you added one to two teaspoons of sugar, you’d still be better off.

5. Canned Lemonades or Ice Teas
Another go-to beverage on a hot summer day is a refreshing glass of ice tea or lemonade. While most homemade versions of these drinks usually aren’t too bad, the bottled versions tend to be unnecessarily packed with extra sugar. A 12-ounce can of Minute Maid lemonade only has 166 calories but dishes out a whopping 42 grams of sugar (almost 11 teaspoons!). Similarly, although at just 80 calories, a 12-ounce can of LIPTON Brisk Lemon Tea doesn’t sound that bad, it’s got 20 grams of sugar. If you brew your own green, white, herbal or black ice tea at home, you start with zero calories and can sweeten lightly to keep the sugar content way down. You can also make your own, fresh lemonade using simple, real ingredients. The three main parts to lemonade are water, lemons, and sugar, but by making it at home you can sweeten it only lightly. One cup of lemon juice, four cups of cold water, and just a tablespoon of sugar will make a pitcher-full of tangy lemonade with just a hint of sweetness.

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6. Root Beer Floats
While a root beer float is a fun summer treat that may bring back sweet memories of childhood, when you combine the 152-calorie can of soda with a half-cup, 137-calorie scoop of vanilla ice cream, you’re looking at a sugary, high calorie dessert. You can make a lighter version by using a light root beer and frozen yogurt. Have some fun with it by combining the two ingredients in a popsicle mold and freezing until solid. It will last longer and cool you down on the hottest of days.

*All nutritional information taken from product labels or respective company websites on 7/6/2016.