Bottoms up for good health

Recipe: Blueberry latti

September 02, 2011|Melissa Tewes and Joe Fleischman | Your Health Matters
  • This bluebarry latti would make an excellent option instead of a fancy calorie-dense fancy coffee. See Joe Fleischman's recipe below.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

This bluebarry latti would make an excellent option instead of a fancy calorie-dense fancy coffee. See Joe Fleischman's recipe below.

You are what you eat —  and drink.

Ensuring that we maintain adequate hydration is just as important —  if not more than — than what foods we are consuming.  

Even mild dehydration can have negative effects on nutrient metabolism and is often a big culprit in feeling fatigued. Not to mention the fact that often times hunger pangs are actually symptoms of dehydration. Many people reach for a snack when in actuality they should be reaching for a bottle of water.

The average adult needs a minimum of 64 ounces of fluid per day with additional needs for those who exercise. When exercising, it is imperative to replace fluid lost in sweat. A good rule of thumb is to consume an additional 4 ounces of fluid per 15 minutes of exercise.  

So what counts as fluid? When selecting fluids, one should first consider the ability to provide adequate hydration. Fluids should be caffeine free, as caffeine acts as a diuretic and can actually contribute to dehydration.  

For every caffeinated beverage consumed, the same quantity of water/fluid should be consumed in addition to the minimum requirements to replace the fluid lost from the diuretic effects of caffeine. During exercise, it is also important to replenish electrolytes that are lost in sweat, so you may choose an electrolyte replacement beverage. If you are an endurance athlete or are exercising for an hour or more, you might need to choose a beverage with some carbohydrates and calories as well.

In addition to ability of fluids to provide hydration, you should also consider the caloric content of the fluids that you choose. Studies have shown that Americans consume up to 21 percent of their total caloric intake from beverages alone. Many drinks can provide just as many calories, or more, than a meal. By eliminating one regular soda per day, the average adult could lose up to 8 or 9 pounds in a year, without making any additional dietary changes. Soda is not the only calorie-rich beverage.  Consider the following, when making beverage choices:

  •  Fancy coffees: Limit consumption of coffee drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos and mochas, as they can contain as much as 600 calories or more. Choose decaf coffee instead and add skim milk or fat-free half and half.

  •  Juices: An average 16-ounce bottle of fruit juice contains 240 calories; almost as much as a regular soda. If you are craving the fruit flavor, try consuming fresh fruit to get the added benefits of fiber and antioxidants. Stick to calorie-free beverages.

  •  Whole milk: While milk is a nutrient-rich beverage, it is a rich source of fat and calories. Swap skim milk for whole milk to save yourself about 60 calories and 8 grams of fat per 8 ounce serving.

  •  Sweet tea: Choose a large unsweetened decaf tea, or decaf tea sweetened with sugar substitute, in order to save yourself as much as 200 calories

  •  Alcohol: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Choose light beer, wine or liquor mixed with calorie-free beverages. Avoid combining alcohol with calorie rich mixers such as regular soda, fruit juice or cream.

Melissa Tewes is the clinical nutrition manager at Meritus Medical Center. She has 16 years of experience as a registered dietitian and is also a certified personal trainer.

Recipe: Blueberry latti

Heat got you down? This unconventional Indian beverage will cool you down on even the hottest summer day.

 Often consumed in the Punjab region of India as a luncheon meal or afternoon treat, this cool, refreshing beverage will satisfy any time of the day.  

Feel free to substitute fresh strawberries or mango for the blueberries or forsake the fruit and add your favorite spices for a more savory version.  

Any way you choose to prepare it, this new favorite will help you keep your cool.

— Joe Fleischman is executive chef at Meritus Medical Center. He has 20 years of experience as a professional chef, culinary instructor and speaker.

Blueberry latti

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 cups fat-free milk

8 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

6 ice cubes

Rinse blueberries under cold water. Put in blender and make a fine puree. Add milk, yogurt and honey, blend well. Add ice cubes and blend until well incorporated. Serve in chilled glass.

Makes 2 servings.


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