Liquid calories slide by so easily, it’s almost impossible to take them seriously. Often, people go through their day consuming many beverages, without realizing that they may be ingesting 45 percent of their required daily calories. Exercising and dieting might not be enough if you are not monitoring your fluid intake. If you are wondering why you haven’t lost weight, even though you are exercising and eating properly, the answer might be in your beverages. Still, there are several ways for you to enjoy your morning latte without having to raise the number on the scale. Here are a few effective tips to help you make better beverage choices:

Watch your water – Today an increasing number of people are replacing water with vitamin waters, sports drinks, flavored waters, and other beverages that promise surprising energy boosts and nutrition. What advertisements won’t tell you is that several of these are packed with artificial sugars and sweeteners. The best advice is to stick with regular water and avoid the hidden calories these drinks may contain.

Avoid soft drinks – An 8-ounce can of regular soda ranges from 90 – 160 calories, depending on the brand. Eight ounces of Pepsi contains 140 calories, so consuming a 16-ounce bottle with dinner would increase your daily caloric intake by a staggering 280. If you must have a soft drink, choose diet.

Beware of fancy coffee drinks – If you think your morning latte has no effect on your diet, you are in for a big surprise. A tall Caffè Latte from Starbucks® has 180 calories, without counting the additional 60 calories added by the whipped cream. Unless you are ordering a tall nonfat latte from Starbucks®, you will be adding an additional 240 calories to your day with just your coffee. When ordering coffee, ask for soy or nonfat milk. Skip the whipped cream, ask for sugar-free syrup, or use a zero calorie sweetener such as Splenda® or Stevia™.

Juices – Whether it’s orange, grape, or cranberry, juices are laden with sugars and calories. An 8-ounce glass of Simply Orange® juice contains 110 calories, 22 grams of sugars, and 26.9 grams of carbohydrates. If you consume a glass of orange juice every morning, you will have consumed an additional 770 calories by the end of the week. If you really must have orange juice with your breakfast, add a couple of ice cubes or water. In general, try to steer away from juices, especially those used in cocktails such as cranberry, grape, and tomato.

Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages contain the highest amount of calories of all beverages. Whether it is a 12-ounce can of beer or a mixed drink, alcoholic beverages can be a cocktail for catastrophe as it relates to your weight. The average beer contains from 135 calories to 209 calories. If you must have a beer or two, choose a light variety. The lightest beer currently available is Budweiser Select 55®, with only 55 calories and 1.9 grams of carbohydrates. Avoid fruity drinks such as piña coladas, daiquiris, and margaritas. A 12-ounce piña colada contains 644 calories. That’s more than a Big Mac®! If you have two, you have already consumed 1,288 calories, and that’s without including any food intake! A healthier alternative to mixers and high-sugar juice combinations would be to mix spirits with club soda, Diet Coke®, or just a splash of orange juice. Wine is also a good option, with an 8-ounce glass containing 90-120 calories.