• Reducing Sugar in Beverages - A Healthy Approach

    One of the biggest calorie busters on any diet is the consumption of sugar-laden beverages. If you're against using artificial sweeteners, then this can become one of the biggest obstacles in the way of successful weight loss.

    Our taste buds (especially true for those who are accustomed to drinking sodas or other sugar-sweetened drinks), have been trained to expect a sweet taste in beverages.

    The clean, bright and refreshing flavor of a grape spritzer can help begin a gradual process of re-training and is aptly suited for this task, since grape juice is naturally sweet. As an added benefit, no artificial sweeteners or chemicals need to be added, helping to eliminate these potentially unhealthful substances from the daily diet.

    Over time, you'll be able to increase the amount of seltzer water (and water provided by the melting ice) and dilute the quantity of the refined sugar. Adjust balances of grape juice, honey, water and ice to your tastes initially, then reduce the sugar and grape juice as your palate becomes more accepting of less-sweetened beverages.

    Eventually, try plain seltzer water with a splash of grape juice, freshly squeezed lime, lemon or grapefruit juice; the tartness and fresh flavors of these fruits provide another element of taste which can be developed to help replace sugar cravings.

    While on a reducing diet, too many calories are added to the diet by sweetened beverages at the loss of valuable vitamins, minerals and proteins at a time when calories are being budgeted more wisely.

    Diet Grape Spritzer:

    1 cup 100% grape juice
    1 cup seltzer water
    1 teaspoon honey (or to taste)

    Blend or stir until mixed. Serve over ice.

    Try this method using other favorite fruit juices or fresh and frozen fruits processed in a blender or Vitamix.

    Visual appeal goes a long way toward creating a good impression. Present your beverages in a clear, frosty and decorative glass to show off those sparklingly fresh bubbles. Garnish the drink with wedges of lemons, frozen grapes, cranberries, blueberries or other fruits and top with a fresh sprig of mint.