- Water with or without lemon/lime (squeezed fresh with slices, or juice without additives)
- Unsweetened tea (no artificial sweeteners) either hot or cold
- Coffee (unsweetened, no artificial sweeteners) with or without unsweetened non-dairy milk
- Bone broth
Staying hydrated is SO important for a variety of body functions including maintaining blood pressure, body temperature, aiding in digestion, kidney function, etc. While water is almost always the best choice, it can certainly get a little boring. Therefore, it’s understandable to want to add some flavor to switch things up. However, if you’re not careful, that beverage could contain just as much sugar/calories as a candy bar! [but if you want the treat, have the treat] If you’re trying to avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster (spike and subsequent crash of your blood sugar), then be picky when you choose that drink. If it’s got a label, read it! and be sure you know what’s added.
My first suggestion is always to add some lemon/lime slices or lemon/lime juice to your water for a hint of flavor. Be mindful about some of the commercially produced lemon and lime juices as they often contain more than just the juice, though. Another added benefit of these citrus fruits are that they provide your body with additional nutrients, including vitamin C – which is great especially during cold and flu season. Also, having an acidic environment also may help to aid digestion as well – many nutrients need an acidic condition to be absorbed in the intestines (which is usually provided by stomach acid, but let’s be real, many people take PPI’s or other acid-reducing medication which may actually block the absorption of many important nutrients!).
Unsweetened tea and coffee are also pretty good options. However, if you find that you are sensitive to caffeine, I wouldn’t drink it later in the afternoon to early evening as it may still be in your system when it’s time to wind down and go to bed, and thus would actually prevent your body from getting good quality sleep – which you need – and may also negatively impact your weight over time. Tea and coffee both can provide your body with different phytonutrients and antioxidants. The research shows they provide more benefit when brewed yourself, instead of sitting in a bottle on a shelf. Although, they can be a nice convenient option when pressed for time.
When it comes to artificially sweetened beverages including sweet tea, crystal light, etc. – I actually recommend avoiding them. My stance on artificial sweeteners has definitely changed within the last year, and especially after doing the Whole 30 because it gave me quite the upset stomach (not to get too personal). But there are many other reasons to ditch the artificial sweeteners – even though it’s calorie-free, it doesn’t make it good for you and it doesn’t mean it will necessarily help you lose weight. Many studies are showing that the use of artificial sweeteners can actually hinder weight loss. They also can alter our gut flora which has a direct impact on the rest of our health – because all health starts in the gut! Therefore, if you want something sweet, just go for the real stuff 🙂
From the list above, one of the few beverages where it’s normal to have some sugar is in kombucha. Yes, many of them contain added sugars, but just like in beer, the sugar is used to help ferment the beverage which is how it becomes a great source of probiotics! Keep in mind, because of the fact that it is fermented, it will contain very small amounts of alcohol, so if you’re avoiding all alcohol for any reason, think twice before choosing this one. I like to try different brands, but currently, GT’s Kombucha is definitely my favorite, and according to the ingredient list, they don’t add extra sugars, they just use what’s naturally provided in the fruit juice.
If you’re looking for a savory/comforting option, bone broth (not just stock, but broth made using actual bones from an animal) provide your body with many different nutrients and collagen – which also may help to protect you against the common cold! It’s no surprise then, that traditionally chicken soup is eaten when one isn’t feeling well. You can buy this pre-made, or you can make your own. There are a ton of recipes you can follow, but it really comes down to tossing your bones, a variety of veggies, spices, and water in a crockpot and letting it cook down for at least 24 hours.
So in a “nutchelle”, when you get tired of drinking plain water – opt for one of the options listed above and avoid the sweetened (either real or artificial) beverages!
Comment below with your favorite drinks 🙂