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Healthy drink choices

MANAGING diabetes involves balancing what you eat and drink with physical activity and medicine.

Food often takes center stage when it comes to diabetes, but beverages can also affect your weight and blood glucose. This is the reason why diabetics are always reminded to only take zero-calorie drinks or very low in calories. Water is one of the healthiest and easiest choices you can make.

However, water to many is boring and tasteless. Here are some easy ways to jazz up plain water:

• Squeeze in some zing. A quick squeeze of lemon juice is delicious.

• Infuse it with flavor. Fill a pitcher with water and add sliced fruit or vegetables (oranges, berries, peaches, and cucumber are tasty), fresh herbs, or a combination of these fresh items to your water. Stick the pitcher in the refrigerator for a few hours so the flavors and aromas meld and you’ll have a crisp, refreshing drink!
• Use no- or low-calorie drink mixes. Mix a single-serve packet with a bottle of water for an on-the-go option. Or, choose other no-calorie drinks:
• Opt for sparkling water for a change. Or try seltzer, club soda or mineral water. dd a squeeze of lime or no-calorie flavoring for extra zing.
• Try unsweetened tea and coffee. Both are very low in calories and carbohydrate. Have you heard that the caffeine in these drinks causes dehydration? This effect is mild, so you can count coffee and tea as part of your total daily fluid intake
Low-fat and fat-free (skim or nonfat) milk and 100 percent juice with no added sugar are also healthy drink options. These drinks have more calories and carbohydrate than zero- and no-calorie drinks, but they also have important vitamins and minerals.
Milk also provides protein. Just remember to control portion size, because the calories and carbohydrate can add up. Use a small glass instead of a large one to measure milk or juice.
If you choose milk, you should:
• Choose low-fat (one percent) or fat-free (skim or nonfat) milk. Make sure that you count it in your meal plan. One cup of fat-free milk provides about 12 grams of carbohydrate, 80 calories, calcium and vitamin D.
• Try plain (unsweetened) fortified soy, rice or almond milk. These are great if you are lactose intolerant or don’t like milk.
If you drink juice, choose juices that are 100 percent juice with no sugar added on the label.
Juice provides a lot of carbohydrate in a small portion, so count it in your meal plan and keep portions small. Four ounces (1/2 cup) or less of juice contains 15 grams of carbohydrate and 60 calories.
You may try also low-sodium vegetable juice. It has less carbohydrate than fruit juice, but plenty of vitamins. At just 50 calories and 10 grams carbohydrate for one cup, it’s a healthy choice.