Make Drinks a Healthy Part of Your Meal Plan ...

Many women fail to calculate their liquid calories, which can hinder weight loss and even lead to weight gain. If you regularly drink sugary coffee drinks, soda, sweet tea, sports drinks or chocolate milk, you need to be making sure you account for the fat and calories those beverages contain. Of course, you should also limit the number of calories you get from drinks. Here's how to enjoy your favorite without hindering your health goals.

1. Read Labels Carefully

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When you choose a drink, read the nutrition label so you know how many calories, fat grams, how much sugar and etc. that the beverage contains. That way, you can balance the content with the rest of the foods and drinks you consume so that you can stay on track with your healthy eating goals.

2. Watch the Sugar

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Health care experts strongly encourage you to limit your sugar intake to about 4 teaspoons per day. That pretty much eliminates soda and sports drinks, but even fruit juice is a sneaky sugar bomb. Trade out your sugary choices with unsweet tea or water and you'll be well on your way to a healthy weight and a healthy body.

3. Pay Attention to the Portion Size

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Often, a bottle of soda or juice contains way more than one serving. If you drink the entire thing, you are likely way overboard on sugar and calories. Make sure you measure out one portion before you guzzle so that you can keep things under control. You can drink as much water as you want to though because it's calorie free.

4. Consider the Salt Too

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Some drinks, such as tomato juice, are incredibly high in salt. Too much can lead to a high blood pressure and heart disease. Don't forget to take into account the amount of salt in a drink before you chug it down.

5. Don't Be Tricked by Diet Drinks

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You might think you are being virtuous by reaching for a diet drink instead of the real thing, but that's simply not true. In fact, diet drinks can be just as bad for you. Diet sodas, for example, contain artificial sweeteners, which can do damage to your health too. If you're going to have a soda, make it a very small one, but go for the real thing.

6. Try Flavored Water

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If you just can't make yourself drink plain water because it's boring, try flavored water. You can get a fruity tasting beverage without any fat or calories. You don't want to make all of your water flavored, but if it helps you get your daily intake quota, don't be afraid to flavor it up sometimes.

7. Milk is a Great Choice for Women

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As women, we need plenty of calcium to help keep our bones strong and healthy. Milk is one of the top sources of this vital nutrient. However, experts recommend opting for low-fat versions because it will save you fat and calories while still giving you plenty of calcium, not to mention vitamin D. Go ahead and have the chocolate version once in awhile if it makes you happy!

What's your favorite drink? How to do you include it in a healthy meal plan?

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