It’s easy to overshoot your calorie target for the day when the things you drink are sweet. Pop, juice, any drinks with added sweeteners all load up empty calories without providing much nourishment at all, and without filling you up — double threat for people who are very overweight and trying to drop pounds.
The new habit I’m working on is trading sweet drinks for ones with fewer calories. Herbal teas, herbal infusions, heavily diluted juices, water lightly flavored with citrus oils, and plain old water are all healthier alternatives. If you want to drink juice, water it down, aim for freshly squeezed ones, or drink juice with the pulp included. Vegetable juices are the best of breed.
But these days I prefer eating my calories, thank you. Maintaining my weight loss means eating many fewer calories per day than I’d like to, so I want every calorie to bring great nutrition. As a former soda-pop addict, I love finding new ways to solve the problem of wanting to drink something other than water.
I constanly prowl for drinks that are interesting, tasty, refreshing, calming or zippy, sweet or spicy or both, but always calorie free. Experimentation is my friend here. I experiment with infusions — steeping citrus peels and vegetables, roots, herbs and spices in hot or cold water. Single drops of culinary oils — peppermint, lemon, orange, cinnamon, and nut oils will turn your plain old glass of water into something refreshing, interesting, and even breath sweetening. My goal is to see how much flavor I can muster and blend without resorting to artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives.
My latest interest has been blending my own herbal teas. With a good herb source and a friend or two to test your blends, you can soon develop mixes that will make you forget about your old thousand-calorie-per-day habit. Order your herbs in bulk. Collect a few infusers, and you’re in business. Below is a recipe for our latest happy experiment, named for our home, whose mortgage forces us to live like monks.
Are you kicking the sweet drink habit? Do you have hints to share? Please share your ideas.
2 parts Peppermint leaf
2 parts Lemon verbena
1 part Chamomile blossoms
1 part Stevia leaves
1/2 part lemon zest
Blend herbs. Steep two tsp. of blend per mug in boiling water for four minutes. Enjoy.