When you’re trying to determine how many calories you’re consuming every day, it’s easy to focus on food. It’s important to remember that many drinks have calories too… empty calories, as they are commonly referred to. This is because they almost always lack any significant nutritional value and are full of sugar.

The best thing to grab when you’re thirsty? Water. Yep, good old H2o. Sometimes you need a little flavor, simply like your morning coffee, or you need some vitamins and carbohydrates replenished after an intense workout. Here are some tips to help you make wise beverage choices for your health and weight loss goals.

#1 – Nix the Soda

Soda is loaded with sugar and has absolutely no nutritional value. It also has carbohydrates too, which when coupled with all that sugar can lead to weight gain. If you’re thinking about reaching for the diet soda instead, it’s not the best idea either. Though you do cut calories, the artificial sweetener used in most of those diet sodas has been shown to have an addictive quality (so the more diet soda you drink the more you crave). Not to mention, most of the carbon in soda can leave you bloated because of the high sodium content.  If you really love your soda and can’t imagine life without it (or don’t want to) try an all natural soda like Zevia.

#2 – Keep Your Cup of Joe… Beware of the Fancy Pants Ones Though

I love coffee and can’t imagine my life without it. I’m not proud of that, but I simply love my coffee. Coffee, by itself, is actually not really bad for your weight loss goals. In fact, it actually boosts your metabolism, kicks up your energy, and curbs your appetite. The problem is all of the stuff we put in our coffee, which really kicks up the fat and sugar content. Try using an all natural sweetener, like Truvia, instead of sugar and non-fat milk instead of full fat cream. And be careful of those rich, fancy pants mocha espresso la la drinks you get at the coffee shop. I know, they’re delicious, but many are loaded with sugar, calories, and fat. Alas, if you’re a big Starbucks fan like me, here is a list of drinks under 200 calories.

#3 – Reserve the Sports Drinks for Sports

Sports drinks are often lumped in with “healthy drinks.” I’ll admit, they are great for restoring electrolytes after participating in grueling sports or running long distances, but they also have quite a bit of sugar too. It’s ok to reach for them from time to time, especially after an intense workout, but if you’re just plain thirsty you should drink water. If you don’t like plain water, try adding a little flavor with Mio.

#4 – Watch for Vitamin Drinks and Added Sugar

Sure vitamin drinks can be tasty, but are they sabotaging your weight loss efforts? Possibly. Read the label. Many of these vitamin infused waters are high in sugar and calories. If you like the idea of getting the extra vitamins, consider adding a multi-vitamin supplement to your diet instead. Zero calories.

#5 – Alcoholic Beverages in Moderation Only

Alcohol can be hard to avoid since they’re common at many social gatherings. The truth is, alcohol is ok in moderation (as long as your not driving, of course) and a glass of red wine can be good for you. So if you’re looking for the least amount of calories, consider the hard liquor (Skinnygirl cocktails are great). If you like beer, beware of all the sugar they contain – go for the light beers if you really want a brewski. 😉 Beware of the pre-made drink mixes as they generally contain lots of extra calories. Remember, when it comes to alcohol, moderation is key, drink responsibly, and always have a designated a driver.