Drinking too many of your calories?

by Emily Hulse

Many people drink a lot of their daily calories without realizing it!  When I worked for the UNL Extension Nutrition Education Program, I often helped program participants to complete a 24 hour food recall (which is where you are to list all foods and beverages consumed in the last 24 hours).  I remember how the majority of participants were quick to remember what they ate but I usually had to remind them to also record what they drank that day.  I think this shows that many of us don’t give as much thought to the liquid calories as we probably should; liquid calories aren’t helping us to feel full and can add up quickly causing us to consume too many calories a day, which over time can lead to weight gain.  Did you know that consuming an extra 100 calories per day can result in the weight gain of 10 pounds per year?!

            During the educational trainings that Teach a Kid to Fish provides to local child care providers, we discuss the topic of beverages during the Personal Health & Wellness module.  I ask them if they consumed the beverages listed below in one day, how many total calories do you think that would be?

  • 8 oz. glass of orange juice
  • medium mocha
  • 20 oz. regular coke
  • 8 oz. glass of whole milk
  • 16 oz. of fruit drink.

Most providers are surprised when I tell them all of these beverages would equal about 1,000 calories; that’s about half of the calories most people should consume in a whole day!


            Let’s take some time to Re-Think our Drink!  Can you replace some of those sugar-sweetened beverages, which are empty calories (meaning they lack nutritional benefit), with water?  To help yourself drink more water, try my following two favorite tips:  the first is to make your own fruit-flavored water by adding orange slices, frozen watermelon chunks, blueberries, or other fruits and the second is to carry a water bottle with you so you always have water readily available.  Here’s to choosing our calories more carefully!


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