November 30th, 2022

Summer Slim Down Part 1: What Beverages Are You Drinking?


Assessing your daily beverages is one of the easiest places to begin when it comes to a summer slim down by removing unnecessary calories and sugar. Your beverages could be standing in the way of your weight success.

An intelligent person is always eager to take in more truth;
fools feed on fast-food fads and fancies. Proverbs 15:14 (MSG)

According to the CDC, about 50% of individuals consume at least 1 sugar-sweetened beverage per day. For many, this contributes unnecessary calories (empty calories) that provide absolutely no nutritional value. In addition, the sugars in these beverages contribute to a host of health issues, including elevated blood sugars and risk of diabetes, obesity, and energy crashes.

In case you thought your 1 sugar-sweetened beverage per day was harmless, here are a few numbers that may blow your mind!

  • 16oz sweet tea = ~140 calories, 36 grams sugar
  • 16oz fruit punch = ~240 calories, 60 grams sugar
  • 16oz soda (ie. coke) = 186 calories, 47 grams sugar
  • 16oz 100% juice = ~240 calories, 58 grams sugar
  • 16oz (grande) caramel macchiato = 280 calories, 33g sugar
  • 16oz (grande) frappuccino (with whip) = 400-500 calories, 50-60g sugar

Even 100% juice contributes a dramatic amount of calories and sugar! While it might come from fruit, eating the fruit is the best way to avoid blood sugar spikes. One tennis ball size piece of fruit contributes 2-4 grams of fiber and about 60-80 calories. Whole fruit takes longer to eat and contains fiber so blood sugars rise slower and you stay full longer.

But, let’s also not forget that alcohol boasts some pretty hefty calories as well. Unless you drink light beer with only 40 calories and stop after only 1 beverage, you might be consuming a small meal in calories from alcohol!

  • 12oz dark beer = 180-200 calories
  • 5oz wine = ~120 calories
  • 1oz 80 proof liquor = ~64 calories

Mixed drinks drastically differ in calories, but many include simple syrups, juice, soda or tonic water in addition to the liqueur, significantly elevating calories and sugar. And, let’s not forget that there is a well known indirect correlation- as alcohol increases, smart food choices decrease. Plain and simple.

Gaining knowledge and insight is instrumental to creating lasting change and motivation. After knowledge comes application- living it out.

Let’s get practical. Where to begin…

Make a Quick List of All the Beverages You Drink – EVERYTHING

…even on the “special occasions.”

Include dairy, juice, punch, tea, sodas, alcohol, sports beverages, coffee, energy drinks, protein shakes… everything! Estimate how much you consume on a daily (or weekly) basis:

Examplez12oz juice or lemonade for dinner

  • 20oz sweet tea for lunch
  • 12oz latte with caramel syrup in AM
  • 16oz bottle of water during the day

Determine What Beverages Contribute to Unnecessary Calories and Sugar

Skim through your pantry and fridge looking at the nutrition label- pay close attention to calories, sugar and any nutrients the beverage does or does not provide. Of course, your answer is never more than a Google search away!

NOTE the serving size on the package vs what you are drinking. If the nutrition label says 4oz = 1 serving, but you drink about 12oz in your typical glass, then you need to triple the numbers to determine how much you are consuming.

Grab Your FREE Summer Beverages Resource Guide from our friends at Healthy Inspiration!

Identify 1 or 2 Changes You’d Like to Make

Consider changes that can include the entire family or household. If you question your consumption of it, then it is likely not ideal for others as well. Keep the changes small, but specific.


  • Drink 2, 16oz bottles of water per day instead of 1
  • Choose either juice at dinner or sweet tea at lunch, not both

Make a Plan of Action

How will you go about this change? Cold turkey? Wean down? Will you discontinue buying a specific beverage altogether? What will you drink in place of this beverage? Write down a concise, clear, action plan:


I will no longer buy juice at the grocery store. Instead, I will buy unsweetened sparkling water and add a squeeze of lemon, orange or lime for flavor. I will drink this at dinner each night.

Envision How These 1 (or 2) Changes Will Affect Your Weight or Health


  • By replacing the juice with infused water, I will eliminate ~250 calories per day.
  • By eliminating at least 1 sugar-sweetened beverage per day, I will reduce daily blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C at my next doctor’s appointment.

Don’t forget to set boundaries about what is ‘acceptable’ on special occasions. This means you need to determine how much sugar-sweetened or adult beverages you are planning to consume BEFORE you attend a gathering, eat out at a restaurant, or attend a fancy event. You must agree to your plan regardless of other people’s actions.

Now that you have your Action Plan, take the next 2 weeks to direct your focus to put it into action – again and again. Don’t focus on other nutrition goals at the same time. Instead, give this all your attention. Work through any unexpected challenges and resistance.

While you cannot force anyone to make these decisions with you, you do have significant influence over what is brought into your home. Speak truth in love. Plan a family meeting if necessary and talk about your specific concerns of health issues that could arise or get worse if these beverage choices do not change. Take ownership for your past history and actions and make yourself accountable. Let those close to you know what type of beverage choices to expect from you moving forward.

Weight loss will continue to be a moving target if we don’t address one area at a time. Begin by focusing on how you are hydrating and nourishing your body through beverages. If you want to lose weight for good, you must own your reality, execute the power of focus and celebrate small wins.

FlavorFUL beverages don’t need to be loaded with sugar! Get this PDF, 5 Refreshing Summer Beverages, Low on Calories, Overflowing with Flavor, when you subscribe to Healthy Inspiration.

So, what’s the play call?

It’s easy to continue our same patterns and complain of no change. That’s what a lot of people do. But we-YOU- are more than conquerors! The victory you want in your health, freedom from attachment to sugar or foods, and the change you want in your waistline- it is yours!

The foggy feeling of being overwhelmed clouds our minds and can prevent smart, intentional choices. Don’t get bogged down by ALL the changes you need to make. Ask God to help you identify 1 change in your beverages choices. Start there.

You’ve got this!


Don’t miss Summer Slim Down Part 2 on July 14th!


Yes! I would like prayer. Please pray for me.

Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD
Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD is a nutrition communications dietitian whose joy and passion is to empower women to live healthy, balanced lives that are fulfilling and free of guilt and shame. She loves sharing real-life strategies to choosing nourishing foods, fitting in fitness and looking beyond the mirror. Jennifer enjoys encouraging women on her blog, Healthy Inspiration, taking walks with her daughter, cooking with her husband and trying out different kinds of physical activity.
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