If you’re exercising and eating right yet still hitting a weight-loss roadblock, stealthy liquid calories may be to blame.

 

Drinking calories has a different effect on the body than consuming solid calories. When you sip a delicious Frappuccino or even a big glass of orange juice in the morning, the stomach doesn’t recognize these as food, so the satiety hormone is not released to signal the brain to stop eating.

 

When you drink apple juice instead of eating an apple, for example, your stomach doesn’t need to break down the fiber in the apple, so your stomach doesn’t send a signal to your brain telling you you’ve consumed calories. That makes it easy to pour another glass.

 

Many people looking to lose weight add a protein shake or smoothie to their day, but don’t cut calories in other parts of their diet to make up the difference—meaning they’re adding, in some cases, up to 400 calories without ever feeling full.

 

When you drink a sugary beverage like soda or a blended coffee drink, you set yourself up for a blood sugar dip later in the day. This dip in blood sugar can make you crave another high sugar beverage or food.

 

So…what’s the fix, here? It’s as simple as being mindful of the calories in your drinks. Take a look at these common drinks below and try our suggestions on how to make them better fit into your healthy eating and weight loss goals.

 

 

1. Morning coffee + flavored creamer = my jam!

 Flavored coffee creamers are full of sugar and usually contain non-dairy ingredients made up of hydrogenated fat, which can cause inflammation in the body. Swap your premade creamer with coconut milk, almond milk, or steamed milk and honey.

For a more satisfying cup of brew, try blending a tablespoon of coconut oil in your coffee. Even though this will add 100 calories, medium chain fats will curb your appetite and may help kickstart fat burning for the day.

 

2. I love an afternoon coffee treat

Instead of a Frappuccino (300-600 calories), order an iced latte with almond milk. (100 calories) If you want it sweeter, try adding a packet of Stevia.

 

3. My morning starts with a glass of juice

If you can’t imagine your morning without a glass of sunshine (aka orange juice), try savoring a smaller portion. You can also try a fruity herbal tea instead. Some people like drinking it hot, but if you’re used to juice in the morning, we recommend preparing a pitcher of iced fruity tea (no need to sweeten) and have it ready in the fridge. You’ll save 100 calories.

 

4. Sodas call my name

Diet sodas are not the answer here—aspartame is a chemical that is not good for you. Experiment with different brands of flavored sparkling water. There are also great tasting sodas sweetened with Stevia in many different delicious flavors.

 

5. Breakfast smoothies are where it’s at!

Smoothies can be a healthy option if you aim to use low sugar fruits (like berries) and an unsweetened milk substitute, like almond or coconut milk, as your base. Make sure to add a handful of greens to increase your fiber content and to help you feel satisfied. Note: some smoothie recipes are high in calories because people use them as a meal replacement, so keep this in mind when choosing new smoothie recipes.

 

6. Happy hour helps me wind down

Alcoholic drinks are especially sneaky when it comes to calories. You probably know what we’re going to say here—do your best to cut down (or cut it out) and stick to mocktails, as regular consumption of alcohol can harm your body. If you decide to imbibe, mix a low-cal alcohol with club soda and a fruit garnish to avoid adding more calories to the beverage.

 

 

Remember, it takes time for habits—and tastebuds—to change. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to find an alternative that works for you. But don’t forget: small changes lead to big results.