Monday, July 19, 2010

Healthy & Refreshing Summer Refreshments

If you are like me, you need cool treats to make it through the hot summer. Since I have given up sugar and I am not indulging in traditional summer refreshments like lemonade or sweetened iced tea, I have tried to come up with some healthy ways to keep myself refreshed.  Here are a few ways I like to wet my whistle:

1. Water with a Twist – I aim to drink 8 8-oz glasses of water a day. Water gives me energy and keeps cells hydrated. On a daily basis, though, water can get rather boring, so to liven it up, I cut up lemons and limes and keep them in a container in the frig, then I just throw a few slices into my stainless steel water bottle and off I go.

2. Crystal Light On the Go Pure Fitness – Not too long ago, Crystal Light introduced a new product called Crystal Light On the Go Pure Fitness with no sugar and no preservatives - just vitamins, electrolytes and stevia. It comes as a powdered mix in single servings in 3 flavors – strawberry-kiwi, grape, and lemon. I just add one packet to my 32-oz stainless steel water bottle. I rotate between the flavors for variety. I find that if I use less water, the concoction is too sweet for me, so I use more water than called for. It is another fun way to make water exciting without using added sugar.

3. Pom Pomegranate-Blueberry Juice Pops – I LOVE making little mini-popsicles out of Pom Pomegranate-Blueberry juice. I have a 4-popsicle mold that I just pour the juice into and freeze. Because I eat fruit and 100% fruit juice (in limited quantities) as a part of my new sugar-free life, this is a perfect summer after-dinner treat that feels decadent but that is full of antioxidants and very good for you (and only about 35 calories per pop).

4. Light Coconut Milk Pops – Same as above, only I use light coconut milk. These pops are a little harder than those made with juice and have a few more calories (about 60 per pop) but coconut milk contains a form of healthy fat and is quite tasty once you get used to it.  You can also find cartons of coconut milk in the natural foods section of your local grocery store near the soy milk and almond milk as well.

5. Iced Green Tea with Lemon – On the way to work every day, I drink about 2 cups of green tea with a squirt of lemon. Green tea is chock full of antioxidants and is soooo good for you.  Using lemon enhances the tannins in the tea for better absorption by the body. (Avoid using milk in your green tea or black tea as it has the opposite effect and reduces the absorption of tannins.)  However, it is way too hot outside to drink green tea, so lately I have been making batches of it and keeping it in the frig. Very good for you and very refreshing with a tiny kick of caffeine perfect for the morning.