We often do not think about how much sugar we get from what we drink. Sugary drinks don’t fill us up as quickly as food does, so it’s easy to take in more than we need.
5 Alternatives to Sugary Drinks
1. Water—Add lemon or cucumber for flavor, or experiment with these recipes.
2. Sparkling water with natural flavors
3. Unflavored seltzer water with a slice of lemon and a splash of 100% fruit juice
4. Unsweetened iced tea with lemon slices
5. Coffee— black or with a little milk
Tips for Cutting Back
On some days, sugary drinks are hard to avoid entirely. Here are some tips to help you cut back on how much you drink:
- Look closely at serving sizes and choose an 8 oz can over a 20 oz bottle. Many sugary drinks are more than one serving.
- Enjoy one soda, then pass on the free refills at restaurants. If you need a second round, ask for water.
- Water down soda and juices with seltzer water.
Watch for Hidden Sugars
Added sugar can go by many different names. Check the label on your drink for these hidden sugars:
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Cane sugar
- Any other kind of “syrup” (malt, brown rice, barley, corn, etc.)
- Generally, anything that ends in “-ose” (dextrose, lactose, glucose, sucrose, etc.)
See How Much Sugar
Some popular beverages are listed below with their common serving size, calories and sugar content. You may be surprised to see how much sugar you are drinking:
- Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta with Cream, 24 oz medium, 740 calories, 23 teaspoons sugar
- Coca-Cola(R) Classic, 20 oz bottle, 240 calories, 15 teaspoons sugar
- Pepsi(R), 20 oz bottle, 250 calories, 16 teaspoons sugar
- Mountain Dew(R), 20 oz bottle, 290 calories, 18 teaspoons sugar
- Minute Maid(R) Orange Juice, 16 oz bottle, 220 calories, 11 teaspoons sugar
- PoweradeTM, 20 oz bottle, 125 calories, 8 teaspoons sugar
- Glaceau Vitamin Water(R), 20 oz bottle, 125 calories, 8 teaspoons sugar
- Starbucks Bottle Frappuccino(R), 9.5 oz bottle, 200 calories, 8 teaspoons sugar
- Polar Seltzer(R) 100% Natural Seltzer Water (all flavors), any size, 0 calories, 0 sugar
- Water, any size, 0 calories, 0 sugar
Be a Healthy Role Model
Choose non-sugary drinks. Water is the best choice.
Why Does It Matter?
Students who eat healthy meals, including healthy beverages, perform better on tests, have fewer attendance and behavior problems, and achieve more in school. Check out our guide, Healthy Students Achieve More: 3 Ways to Fuel Kids’ Brains for Academic Success, to learn more about what you can do to feed students’ learning potential.
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