IMG_3252The new year is full of resolutions to eat better, lose weight, and get “healthy.” If you made one of these resolutions, you are probably on your way to success by now. If you need some extra encouragement, this is for you!

An easy way to take action towards losing weight and improving your overall health is by only drinking unsweetened, non-caloric beverages. No milk. No pop (not even diet). No juice. No soy lattes. No wine (really). Nada.

The science behind why this is important is pretty simple: When we drink our calories, we consume more total calories than if we drink only water.

This is likely because fluids don’t provide the same feeling of fullness or satisfaction as solid foods, as the body doesn’t “register” liquid calories as it does calories from solid food. Eat 120 extra calories along with your breakfast and you’re likely to compensate for those calories by eating a smaller amount of your usual choices. But if those 120 calories come from liquids, studies show your caloric compensation will be minimal at best. In practical terms, if you drink a glass of milk with each meal, you’ll consume virtually the same number of food calories as you would have had you chosen a calorie-free beverage.

It is also possible that sweet-tasting drinks — regardless of whether they are sweetened with sugar or a calorie-free sugar substitute — might stimulate the appetite for other sweet, high-carbohydrate foods. Not only are we consuming more calories when we drink juice, lattes, and sodas, we are then more prone to eat more food! It’s a double diet whammy!

(You can read more about the science behind this at the Harvard School of Public Health.)

If you’re motivated to swap water for other drinks, here are a few ways to naturally flavor the water. I like to think of them as homemade vitamin water. Make these in the evening after work and let them sit in the fridge overnight. By morning, you’ll have a beautiful pitcher of flavored water to keep you happy all day!

  1. Lemon-Cucumber (pictured above)
    In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, 1/2 cucumber (thinly sliced), 1 lemon (thinly sliced), 1 sprig fresh basil leaves, 3-4 sprigs fresh mint leaves. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  2. Grapefruit-Basil
    In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, 1/2 grapefruit (thinly sliced), and 3-4 sprigs fresh basil leaves. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  3. Strawberry-Lime
    In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, 6 strawberries (frozen is fine), 1 lime (thinly sliced), 3-4 sprigs fresh mint leaves. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  4. Fennel-Citrus
    Bring 2/3 cup water to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds. Simmer for 5 minutes and let cool. In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 orange (thinly sliced), 3-4 sprigs fresh mint leaves, and the fennel-infused water. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  5. Blackberry-Sage
    In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, 1 cup of blackberries (lightly crushed), and 3-4 sage leaves. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  6. Watermelon-Rosemary
    In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, 1 cup of cubed watermelon, and 2 sprigs fresh rosemary. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  7. Pineapple-Mint
    In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, 1 cup of cubed fresh pineapple, and 3-4 sprigs fresh mint leaves. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  8. Apple-Cinnamon
    In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, 1 cup of cubed apple, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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  9. Ginger Tea
    Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. Let it cool. In a pitcher, mix 8 cups of water, the cooled ginger tea, and 4-5 slices of fresh ginger. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

 

These recipes were submitted to the Virtual Vegan Potluck!VVLPButton

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