What's in Your Glass?

Take a look in your kitchen cabinets. You probably have glassware in a bunch of different sizes: red wine glasses, white wine glasses, tumblers, oversized coffee mugs, or glasses just for juice or beer or iced tea.

This makes it hard to gauge portion sizes of the beverages you're drinking—and that, in turn, makes it difficult to really know how many calories you're consuming.

Most people overlook the calories they get from beverages, yet those lattes and glasses of sweetened iced tea can add up if we're not paying attention. And most of us drink more of these beverages than we may be aware of, especially if we "supersize" that soft drink when we eat out.

A few things to know about calories and beverages:

  • Serving sizes can be sneaky: Large glasses, for example, encourage larger pours.
  • Read the labels: Bottled beverages often contain more than one serving, so you may be consuming more calories than you think when you drink the whole bottle.
  • Add-ins add up: Opting for whole milk in your latte or extra ingredients in your smoothie can pack on calories.
  • Higher alcohol content (ABV) in beer and wine or proof in spirits = more calories.

Here's a snapshot of different beverages, with typical serving sizes and calorie counts:

  • Coffee (with sugar and half & half)
    • Serving = 8 oz. coffee + 1 tbsp half & half + 2 tsp sugar
    • Calories = 79
  • Bottled Sweet Tea
    • Serving = 16 oz.
    • Calories = 160
  • Low-Fat Milk
    • Serving = 8 oz.
    • Calories = 102
  • Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino (whole milk + whipped cream)
    • Serving = 16 oz. (grande)
    • Calories = 410
  • Smoothie King Slim-N-Trim Strawberry 
    • Serving = 20 oz.
    • Calories = 240
  • Orange Juice
    • Serving = 8 oz.
    • Calories = 110
  • Sports Drink
    • Serving = 1 20-oz. bottle
    • Calories = 140
  • Soda
    • Serving = 1 12-oz. can
    • Calories = 150

For those who occasionally enjoy alcoholic beverages:

  • Wine
    • Serving = 5 oz.
    • Calories = 120–125
  • Regular Beer
    • Serving = 1 12-oz. can
    • Calories = 154
  • Light Beer
    • Serving = 1 12-oz. can
    • Calories = 95–115

Don't discount  water as a go-to beverage choice! Learn more about the benefits of water and while you're at it, check out these  suggestions for ways to make water taste better.

​Bryn Mooth is the author of the Findlay Market Cookbook, the editor of Edible Ohio Valley  magazine, and she also publishes a website called writes4food.com. She loves cooking tasty and uncomplicated dishes, cultivating a small vegetable garden and shopping at the Tristate area's many local farmers markets. Saturday mornings, you'll find Bryn at Findlay Market bright and early, doing much of her grocery shopping for the week. She's pleased to be partnering with Healthspirations to share her recipes, how-tos and information about eating healthfully in Cincinnati!