By: Sammy Griffith, RD, LDN

Growing up with both parents as Dentists, I wasn’t allowed to have many sweets. While most kids might feel bitter about a “no soda” rule, it taught me a valuable lesson in nutrition – don’t drink empty calories.

What is an empty calorie anyway? It’s a popular nutrition term, but do you really know what it means? Empty calories are derived from foods containing no substantial nutrients. Soda, cookies, and candy are all examples of empty calories. This is because they provide a lot of refined sugar, and really nothing else.

Fruit, on the other hand, is not an empty calorie. Although it often contains a lot of sugar, fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For those reasons, dietitians often recommend that you satisfy your sweet tooth with the natural sweetness of fruit!

While drinking water for hydration is your best bet, sometimes everyone craves a bubbly drink! That’s why there is always carbonated water on hand in the Griffith home. One of my favorite drinks with dinner is lemon-flavored seltzer water with pomegranate seeds. That way I get the sweetness I’m craving without the added sugar my body doesn’t need.

For this week’s taste test, choose your own mixture of fruit to add to carbonated water. Let us know your new favorite combination!