Reader Request: Burning Off Beverage Calories

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Drink SelectionIf you've ever filled out a form on Food and Health Communications, then you know that I like to follow up. Whether you've entered a contest, asked a health question, or commented on a recipe, I want to make sure that you've gotten everything you need. That's because I am here for you when you want to look your very best.

Anyway, sometimes these follow-ups lead to new and exciting possibilities. That was definitely the case when I checked in with long-time Communicating Food for Health subscriber Pat Hunter, MA, RD.

Pat wrote "I love the idea of presenting to a group of teens a display of sweetened drinks/foods and then post the amount of exercise required to burn off calories from those items.  Judy do you have a quick list?"

I didn't then, but I do now!

After researching the most common sugary drinks and their typical servings sizes, I used my handy-dandy exercise calculator to find out how much work it would take to burn off the calories in popular beverages. I turned what I found into a new handout and sent it off to Pat on the same day I got the request! Whee!

Now I want to pass the benefits of this research on to you. Here's the text of the handout. If you like what you see below, keep scrolling and you'll find a PDF copy that you can download today!


Drinks LineSugary drinks can be huge sources of empty calories.

What are empty calories?

These are sneaky calories that offer no nutrients or health benefits. That makes them “empty” of the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients we need in our food.

According to MyPlate, “A small amount of empty calories is okay, but most people eat far more than is healthy. It is important to limit empty calories to the amount that fits your calorie and nutrient needs.”

So if you really want that sugary drink, be sure to burn off those empty calories with some fun physical activities! Here's what you need to do to fight the calories in 20-ounce servings of these beverages...

  • Soda: Running for 50 Minutes
  • Hot Cocoa with Whipped Cream: Walking Briskly for 90 Minutes
  • Fruit Punch: 45 Minutes of Yoga
  • Sweet Tea: 25 Minutes of Biking
  • Sport Drink: Hiking for 20 Minutes

Aaaaaaand here's the handout!

Beverage and Exercise

If you like that, then you'll love the other healthful beverage resources available in the Nutrition Education Store. Here are some of my favorite materials...

Find ways to make your regular beverages more healthful!
Beverage Better Poster
Don't Drink Your Calories! PowerPoint and Handout Set
Are You Drinking Candy? Sugar Awareness Handouts
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