That sweet drink may hit the spot for breakfast or happy hour, but it's not doing your waistline any favors. A 600-ml lemonade can contain 250 calories and 68 grams of sugar. Fortunately, there are plenty of refreshing sips that you can drink without guilt—and they may actually help you lose weight.
Here are six ways to quench your thirst without packing on the kilos.
Staying hydrated is important when you're trying to trim down. Sure, you can fool yourself into drinking more water, and research has proven that water helps your body maintain a proper fluid balance, stops water retention (a big cause of bloated bellies), and even increases the feeling of fullness so you eat less overall.
Iced Peppermint Tea
This minty thirst quencher is super-refreshing, but it's also a super-effective belly flattener. Find out how to brew your own teas, and go for the peppermint tea, which helps your stomach process fat, ensuring even high-fat foods like burgers and steaks are digested quickly, which helps prevent bloat.
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As long as they're made without sugary mixers like sortbet, smoothies are a guilt-free way to hydrate—and watermelon is a terrific, low-cal smoothie base. Not only is it a natural hydrator because of its water content, watermelon is also loaded with nutrients, including cancer-fighting lycopene, as well as an amino acid known as arginine. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that arginine can decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass, so whip up this 56-calorie metabolism booster and sip away!
This blended pineapple drink tastes like a beach vacation in a glass—and it packs in two belly-flattening ingredients. A tablespoon of flaxseed oil adds monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), proven belly flatteners, and pineapple itself contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps break down protein, ease digestion, and banish bloat.
Besides reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease, green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that studies show can help reduce belly fat. That's right: Green tea can actually help you lose weight. If you sip a little before a workout, these compounds can also increase your fat burn during aerobic exercise.
Dark Chocolate Smoothie
Really? Yes, really. Chocolate—especially dark chocolate—helps you slim you down because it decreases appetite and lessens food cravings overall. However, at nearly 400 calories, this shake is more of a meal than a snack.
Smoothie Snack Pack
Put 1/2 cup skim or soy milk, 170g vanilla yogurt, 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, and 1 cup fresh raspberries plus a handful of ice OR 1 cup frozen raspberries in a blender. Blend for 1 minute, transfer to a glass, or eat with a spoon (387 calories).