It is SO hot and humid in my town that I detest going outside! About all I want to eat is ice cream and cold drinks. But we humans sweat a lot in the heat so we need to stay hydrated and thus we need to be careful about liquids. I admit that my favorite drink is an ice cold Dr. Pepper from Quik Trip because they have some cherry flavoring that I add. But, of course, healthy drinks are important, too.
If we’re wise (and I’m definitely NOT at times) we should have two considerations in mind when choosing a drink:
Whether it makes us healthier …
How many calories it has …
Most soft drinks are 100-120 calories for an eight ounce glass. The smallest size in QT is 22 ounces which is almost three servings or 300-360 calories. For lunch today I had a veggie burger for about half those calories and I’ll be full for hours and hours. Looking at it that way, it’s clear that some healthy drink recipes are in order.
Liquid Doesn’t Necessarily Equal Hydration
Yes, in these hot and sweaty days we need to stay hydrated but drinking a coke does the opposite. In fact, soft drinks dehydrate us. Experts in natural health recommend that we get two eight ounce glasses of water for every eight ounces of sweet sodas. So, yes, they taste great but they aren’t giving your cells the water they need.
Further, caffeine and sugar pull water out of cells and most of the drinks have both of those substances. I guess a 7Up is better than my Dr. Pepper because it has less caffeine (but I don’t like 7 Up. Ugh.)
We all know that water is the best drink, but if you’re fed up with it, here are some healthy drink ideas.
Healthy Drinking 101
Fruit is loaded with fiber and natural water. It also has sugar but it’s a better form than the white stuff we all love so much. Berries are the queens but bananas are great, too, and make any smoothie thicker so that it tastes more like an ice cream shake. Throw some fruit in your blender and add some milk or water. I use almond milk because it makes my drinks taste richer and it only ‘costs’ 40 calories per cup. Yogurt is great, too. And add some stevia if you want your smoothies to be sweet. Add a bit of ice to make your fruit smoothie super cold. Experiment till you find what you like and you’ll have a #1 winner in the healthy drinks recipes category.
Yes, those powdered mixes are convenient but real lemonade tastes infinitely better. You need real lemons which are absolutely marvelous for your body. Juice 6-8 lemons and add boiling water to taste. Mix in some honey or agave nectar for sweetening while your water is still hot.
I’m from the south and sweetened iced tea is more popular than cookies. My son complains every time we leave the southern states that he can’t find any decent tea. Southerners know that you have to dissolve the sugar in hot liquid because otherwise the sugar sinks to the bottom of the glass. It not only looks weird but the sweet taste isn’t in every sip.
Oddly enough, I don’t really like this sweet southern tea. I can drink it if there’s nothing else, but it definitely doesn’t ring my chimes. However, I do have a lemonade-tea drink that I really love and I’ve shared the recipe elsewhere on this blog:
Tea is so versatile and there are a ton of flavors so if it’s your thing, find some flavors you like the make a pitcher of cold tea. It’s best to choose decaffeinated, of course. Steep your tea bags in hot water – not boiling. Too-hot water can make tea taste bitter.
If you like it sweet, add honey, agave nectar or stevia. Fruit juice is good, too, obviously. Sparkling water or seltzer mixed with tea is appealing to many.
So, if you have more self discipline that I do, avoid the soft drinks and choose some of these. In my own defense, I will add that although I’m a Dr. Pepper addict, I also drink lots and lots of water. We must stay hydrated year round, but it’s especially important when temps are in the 90s, like they are in most of the US right now. Healthy drinks are important for adults – and especially for our kids.