RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—As the weather starts to warm up and I spend more time outdoors, I inevitably start thinking about what will quench my thirst after a hot afternoon of weeding, feeding the animals, or tending to home repairs that had to be put off till warmer weather. Buying ready-to-drink beverages and dragging them home may seem like a convenient solution, but it can put a serious dent in your weekly food budget (especially if you have thirsty teens who drink fruit juice by the jug as soon as your back is turned). That solution is also hard on the environment (shipping heavy items such as water and other ready-to-drink beverages via truck takes lots of fossil fuel, plus there are all those containers that need to be recycled). And it may be making you fat.
Fat? Yes! Studies tell us we are far more likely to be overweight or obese than our parents were 30 years ago, and not so much because we are less active (according to one recent study, on average we actually get more exercise than our parents did)—but due to the extra 500 calories a day (350 calories for kids) we consume on average compared to previous generations. A lot of those excess cals come in the form of sweetened beverages. Trading them in for low- or no-cal drinks you make at home is a great way to improve your family’s health, shed a few pounds pretty easily, save some serious green, and reduce your impact on our planet.