Drink Water – It’s Free and It Doesn’t Make You Fat

During the summer many of us grab drinks to take on walks, hikes, bike rides, picnics, cookouts, etc.  Many times those drinks are loaded with sugar and calories.  In fact, the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines indicate that added sugars contribute an average of 16% of the total calories in American diets.  And 36% of those calories come from soda, energy drinks and sports drinks (see the chart below).  That’s more than candy, ice cream, cakes, and cookies combined.

Strong evidence shows children and adolescents who consume more sugar-sweetened beverages have a higher body weight compared to those who drink less of these beverages.  Moderate evidence also supports this relationship in adults.

Sugar-sweetened beverages provide excess calories and few essential nutrients to the diet.  Reduce the intake of sugary drinks by:

  • Drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Consuming smaller portions
  • Substituting water and other beverages with few or no calories for sugar-sweetened beverages

If you want to get an idea of how many teaspoons of sugar and calories there are in various beverages, play Interactive Beverage Guide to Sugars.   Show the website to your children and encourage them to decrease the sugar they get through sweetened beverages.

Sources of added sugars in the diets of the US Population ages 2 years and older

Sources of added sugars in the diets of the US Population ages 2 years and older

If you would like a closer look at this chart go to: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/dietaryguidelines2010.pdf and then to page 29 where you will find FIGURE 3-6 Sources of Added Sugars in the Diets of the US Population Ages 2 years and Older.

pointers from Peggy

When health and money values conflict…

I just hate it when my values conflict with each other. I like to eat healthy and inexpensively. Sometimes it’s easy, like buying fruits and vegetables, grains, and lean meats at the grocery and making simple, great tasting meals my way, instead of paying extra for convenience meals.

But sometimes it is hard. Why are the big bags, value meals, Big Gulp, Big Grab, Big Mac the best value (in the sense you get more for your money)? Why can’t a salad and a bottle of water be made into a value meal? Why do I have to buy a kid’s meal to get a healthy portion and a lower price?

Part of the reason so many of us struggle with weight issues is that you can buy sugared and salty snacks and candy so many places, and the size of the packages just continue to grow. Yes, the larger sizes cost more, but we are getting more, so we think it is a bargain. Then we eat the whole thing and get excess calories.

It’s the same conflict with the 100-calorie snack packs. My eating healthy value says that’s the way to go, but my eating inexpensively value reminds me that I am paying more.

So what’s the answer? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue and your solutions to this dilemma.

-pointers from Peggy

$30 serves 8 a Healthy Holiday Dinner

Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away and for many of us that means lots of great food. But it doesn’t have to mean a lot of calories, extra weight, and an empty wallet. Last weekend we figured out a traditional menu that will serve 8 people a healthy meal for $30.

Why is it healthy? The turkey is roasted—not fried, the food is homemade so it isn’t loaded with sodium like many of the  convenience foods, the vegetables and fruits are prepared letting the natural flavors shine rather than be smothered, and we have skipped the crust on the pie and gone right to the ‘good for you’ pumpkin filling.

My sister is trying to promote a “Turkey Trot” on Thanksgiving morning for us—just like they do in her husband’s hometown. The Turkey Trot is a 3K route and everyone walks or runs as far as they want and are able. This sounds like a great plan to me, and I think it would work with our family since we share the cooking. Walking and talking sure makes the exercise go more quickly.

Check out the turkey dinner recipes and see how we figured the costs.

-pointers from Peggy

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