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Know your drink during March, designated National Nutrition Month

Have you checked the nutrition facts label on your favorite beverages? Calories from beverages can add up quickly. Unlike food, beverages usually don’t make people feel “full.”

Swapping a can of sweetened soda pop with water every day can trim about 150 calories from your daily diet. That simple swap could add up to a 15-pound weight loss during the course of a year.

Know your sweeteners

Many types of sweeteners are used in beverages, and most add calories without vitamins or minerals. Sugar-free food additives, such as aspartame, are used in diet soda. While they have zero or few calories, they also contribute no nutrition.

Read the “ingredient statement” on the label to see what you are consuming. Added sweeteners have many different names including high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, honey, sugar, syrup, corn syrup, sucrose and dextrose

How many calories

did you drink?

Let’s say you drank a 20-ounce bottle of a non-diet cola beverage. How many calories did you consume? Here are the steps to see how many calories were consumed:

* Check out the nutrition facts label, which lists servings per container and the amount of calories and other nutrients per serving. For example, there are 2.5 servings per container and 100 calories per serving.

* Multiply the number of servings by the number of calories per serving (100 times 2.5).

* You had 250 calories, all from added sweeteners.

Make healthy                      beverage choices

* Choose water or low-calorie beverages when you are thirsty. Save money by bringing a refillable water bottle. Be sure to wash it thoroughly before and after its use.

* Get your calcium. Have 3 cups of fat-free milk or other calcium-rich beverages or foods including yogurt. Make a fruit smoothie by blending yogurt and frozen strawberries.

* Choose 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice instead of fruit-flavored beverages. Better yet, have whole fruit, which is more than 90 percent water.

* When you want a sweetened beverage, including smoothies, coffee drinks and soda pop, order the smallest size. Have coffee drinks made with fat-free milk and skip the whipped topping.

Question: I babysit my granddaughter and she asks me for fruit punch every day. Does it contain any fruit juice?

Fruit-flavored beverages, such as fruit punch, usually contain little, if any, fruit juice. Be sure to read the labels on all types of beverages and compare calories and nutrients. For example, a cup of fruit punch has about 120 calories from added sweeteners and some added vitamin C, but that’s it.

Excerpted from “” For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, EFNEP/FNP education assistant, North Dakota State University Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 1st St. E, Jamestown, 252-9030 or