1. Drink more water. There is no better thirst quencher than water! Our bodies are composed of about 60 percent water, making it necessary for our survival and good health. Start replacing soda and other sweetened beverages with water. You can flavor water naturally with berries, lemon, or cucumber. Plus, the health benefits of water are many, including healthier-looking skin and energized muscles.
2. Eat fruit instead. It is easy to mistake some high-sugar juice drinks as healthy. While fresh fruit does contain sugar, it is okay because fruits are also packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Next time you’re craving something sweet, grab some watermelon, mango, or another fruit of your liking instead of a sweet drink. You can even mix fruit chunks with ice in the blender for a refreshing smoothie!
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3. Snack healthily. While sugary drinks often accompany meals, they may sometimes take the place of snacks. The more you consume healthy snacks like whole nuts, fruit, or vegetables, the less your body will seek out something sweet. If you keep small portions of healthy snacks in your car, desk, or purse, you can easily grab these instead of a sugary drink the next time you feel hungry in between meals.
4. Rethink your grocery list. If you don’t make a list when grocery shopping, start doing it. Healthy eating starts with thoughtful planning. Almost half of our sugary drink calories are consumed in the home. This means that we are buying many of these sweetened beverages ourselves, making them readily available to the whole family. Get into the habit of making a grocery list free of sweetened beverages and stick with it.
5. Learn the different names for sugar. With processed food, sugar comes in different forms and names so it can be tricky to know which beverages and foods contain sugar. Knowledge is power! Familiarize yourself with the different names—high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, fruit juice concentrate, etc. These are listed in the ingredients section of nutritional facts label. The closer to the top these ingredients are listed, the more sugar you’re eating. A good rule of thumb is to consume products with very few of these ingredients, typically those that are less processed.
NCLR is currently working to improve nutrition and reduce hunger among the Latino community through Comprando rico y sano, a program supported by the Walmart Foundation and General Mills, Inc.