We have all been there, in the line up at Starbucks wondering just how many calories are in that grande pumpkin spice latte. If you are really savvy, you’re looking up the nutritional facts before you order, frantically trying to make the best possible order when it comes to your health.
For me, my philosophy with eating calories vs drinking them is simple. Food trumps drinks, all the time. However, there are a few times when I bend the rules. Before I chat about that, I want to address why I personally prefer to eat my calories as opposed to drinking them.
There’s a few reasons why I would rather load my plate up with calories as opposed to fill my cup. Here’s the big ones for me:
1. Food = volume. You can get a TON of volume in a salad loaded with veggies, protein, and any other toppings you want to put on top. This goes for dishes like stir fry and zucchini noodles, too. Eating real food allows you to get full by eating a lot, as vegetables are chock-full of fibre that will help you feel full.
2. My personal preferences for drink choices are quite limited. Yep, I am pretty boring when it comes to my beverages. Coffee, tea, water, and the occasional glass of red wine. Alcohol can be a huge calorie bomb, so it is something I do in moderation.
3. Beverages can often contain tons of sugar, fat, and ingredients I can’t pronounce. This is a huge thing for me as it helps me make more informed decisions.
Note: when I mean beverages, I mean things like pop/soda, iced tea (for all of my Canadian readers, you know how sweet iced tea can be!), alcohol on a regular basis, juice from the grocery store, etc.
Plus, when it comes to health and fitness (and weight loss) 80% of your progress is in the kitchen, whereas the other 20% comes from actually working out. Crazy, right? You can’t out train a bad diet, and by having a venti frappucino with whipped cream after every work out, progress can be derailed quickly.
On the other hand, let me tell you about the instances where I will bend my food over drinks rule.
1. If I opt for a smoothie as opposed to a big meal. For me, a smoothie is a meal, or at least a snack to tied me over until my lunch or dinner time. When I make a smoothie, I plug it FULL of goodness such as spinach, some hemp seeds for healthy fats (or a touch of natural peanut butter, almond butter, or coconut oil for healthy fat), almond milk, a fruit of some sort, and sometimes protein powder as well. This allows me to get the nutrients I would normally get if I were eating a big meal, but in a smaller, shaker-sized portion.
2. Eating soup as a meal – such as butternut squash soup in the fall, when the weather just screams soup season! I try to avoid canned soups as much as possible, and will choose organic soups over those filled with fat and sodium. An even better option? Making soup at home!
3. Coffee. Now, when I say coffee, I’m talking about the coffee you brew at home and add your own milk and sweetener to it. While a Starbucks coffee is nice every once and a while, since my tummy does not get along with dairy, it is much easier (and cheaper) when I DIY from home. Add some almond milk in there and you are golden!
When making coffee at home, you can also jazz it up a little bit. Froth up some almond milk, sprinkle some cinnamon or nutmeg in there, experiment with making your own flavours at home using natural ingredients. The kitchen can be a magical place if you let yourself explore!
When it comes down to it, everyone is different in how they prefer to structure their meals. Who doesn’t love good old fashioned food, though? Food is FUN, and it is a great reason to bring people together to share a healthy, nutritious meal. Do you prefer to eat or drink your calories?