In these warm months, it’s nice to have a sip of a refreshing beverage to cool you down. Many of us go for something that reminds us of summers past, like lemonade or a cola. While these drinks might remind us of times gone by, they can also be loaded with added sugar.
Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the average diet in the United States. The average US child consumes a bathtub full of sugar from sugary drinks Every. Year. A diet with too much sugar can raise the risk of unhealthy weight, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Just one sugary drink a day can raise your chances of high blood pressure and heart disease! So, how do we keep our summery drinks but ditch the sugar? Luckily, there are many ways to do it!
I know…I know… “but water is boring!” Well- it’s still important to drink it for heart health and overall health, but what if you could make it tasty? Try infusing your water with fruits or herbs. It’s easy and it tastes great! They have pitchers or water bottles with a basket inside them, but you can just put it all into a glass or a pitcher for the same results. Just put any herbs or fruit (even veggies like cucumbers!) you want into water and let it sit. The harder the fruit the longer it will take to infuse, but it doesn’t take long to get a lot of flavor! For a fresh drink that tastes like summer, try strawberries, lemons, and mint. Strawberry lemonade without all that sickly sweetness!
Iced tea/Iced coffee
That midday slump making you reach for an energy drink but it’s too hot for a cup of coffee or tea? Try it iced! It’s easy to make a big pitcher of your favorite type of brew that will keep you cool and keep you going. Those coffee shop iced coffees are loaded with sugar- sometimes 4 times more than a serving of ice cream! Splash a little milk of your choice in your iced coffee or tea to make it creamy. You can even blend for a tasty frozen drink. Not a caffeine person? Try a fruity herbal iced tea and feel refreshed any time of day.
Sometimes bubbles are the hardest part to quitting soda. Well, sparkling water is here! With so many cutting back on sugary drinks, sparkling waters are having their time right now. There are many on the market to choose from – but like always, read the labels. Some products say “sparkling water” or “zero calories” but you look on the back and they have additives you may not want. You can also go for a plain sparkling water and splash a little juice in it (don’t forget, juice has tons of sugar too!) for some flavor. To reduce waste and cost in the long run, there are also great products out there where you can take your plain tap water and make it into sparkling water.
Cutting back on sugary drinks can be a tough habit to break, but with all these different ways to make healthier choices, you and your family don’t have to lose out on flavor!