Summertime Hydration Station…Without the Added Sugars
My dearly beverage beloved,
If I were to ask you to list the best parts of your past, present and future summer days, I’d venture to guess that you wouldn’t make it too far down the list without dreaming up “a cool & refreshing beverage.”
Cool drinks are necessary on these hot summer days to help regulate our body temperatures and keep us hydrated, but here’s the thing about a lot of them–they have lots of added sugar (which, ironically, makes them not such a sweet choice).
When I say “they,” I mean things like soda, sweet tea, fruit punch, energy and specialty coffee drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices that aren’t 100% fruit juice. Alcoholic drinks even fall into this category because 1) many specialty cocktails use sugar-sweetened beverages and/or syrups as “mixers” and 2) like other sugar-sweetened beverages, they provide little (if any) nutritional benefit for the calories they contain.
Of course, all foods (and in this case, beverages) can fit in a healthy diet–I mean, what’s summer without a piña colada on the beach? Generally speaking, however, we want to be mindful of much and how often we’re consuming these beverages.
Why? Calories from added sugars pose no nutritional benefit for the body and have been positively associated with weight gain. Although we know weight is not the only determinant of health, we also know that being overweight increases risk of things like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes (just to name a few).
The American Heart Association recommends consumption of no more than 6 tsp. (25 g) of added sugar daily for most American women and 9 tsp. (36 g) daily for men. To put this into perspective, a 12 oz. can of regular Coke has approximately 9.3 tsp. (39 g) of sugar. WOWZA.
Lucky for you, I’ve crafted two specialty drinks to keep your summers hydrated, relaxed, and cool…without all of the added sugars. Using these recipes (& getting creative with some of your own!) is a great way to be mindful of your added sugar intake by swapping out some of your sweet summer drinks–plus, you get a little fruit treat once you reach the bottom of each glass!
Find the recipes below, along with these few tips to keep your summer drink routine happy & healthy:
- Start with water first–no matter the day or event.
- Balance out “treat” drinks with equal drinks of water.
- For cocktails, try using seltzer water as a mixer (these come in lots of different fruit-essenced flavors nowadays–but they are NOT the same as tonic water).
- You can even create a mixer that is 1/2 fruit juice and 1/2 seltzer water if that’s more enjoyable for you!
- Only use sports drinks (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade) if you engage in highly-sweaty, prolonged (>60-90 minute) physical activity.
- If you choose to drink fruit juice, first make sure it’s 100% juice. Then, enjoy from a small juice glass (about 4-6 oz.).
- Even though the sugars in 100% fruit juice are “natural sugars” from the fruit, I’m always of the mindset that whole fruit comes first. Why? Because fiber.
P.S. These drinks are extra fun if you grow your own herbs or have a generous friend with an herb garden. Special shoutout to my friend Laurie whose green thumb has kindly sponsored this post with her herbs!