Mindful Nutrition and Wellness

Jessica Miller, Holistic Health Coach

Refreshing Zero-Calorie Summer Drinks

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We all get so excited about summer- the sun, the waves, barbecues- and lots of fun outdoor activities. With summer often comes lemonade, sweet tea, cold soda, juice and sports drinks. Because it’s hot, we like to quench our thirst with fruity or sweet options.

But with all of these sweetened drinks, we end up consuming much more sugar than our bodies can handle. The extra sugar in the body then gets stored as fat, and the extra pounds can quickly appear without notice. The sugar in the drinks is metabolized quickly leaving you craving more.

As a follow up to my previous post, eliminating sweetened beverages is a great way to reduce your calorie intake and to lower your blood sugar levels. The lower your blood sugar, the less hungry you are, the fewer cravings you experience, and the lighter you will feel.

Becoming mindful about the amount of sugar you are drinking is an important first step in any weight loss journey. Pasteurized juice, like the kind you buy at the grocery store, often contains more sugar than soda. Becoming label-savvy is key.

Getting creative with iced tea and water is a great way to feel refreshed throughout the summer without the added sugar and calories. Two of my favorite summer drink ideas are:

    1) Freshly Brewed Iced Tea

In the summer, iced tea is a great thirst quencher and a perfect substitute for coffee, soda, or juice. Tea is full of antioxidants- which have important anti-aging properties. Tea can also increase focus and improve energy. There are a lot of powdered iced teas on the market, but these can be full of strange sweeteners and chemicals. Make your own iced tea in a few easy steps.

I like to make several quarts of iced tea at a time. I fill a few different tea filters with loose tea or use 1-2 tea bags per quart. I love peach, orange, and mint flavors in the summer.

How to: Heat a large teakettle with water until just boiling- turn off kettle and remove from heat. Add the tea bags to one-quart mason jars. Steep the tea for a few minutes in the hot water and allow to cool. Close the mason jars and pop in the fridge. A few hours later, or the next day, you have a few grab-and-go quarts of freshly brewed iced tea.

    2) Make-Your-Own-Vitamin-Water

To jazz up my water, I add fruit and fresh herbs to water and ice and store in mason jars or a pitcher. The infused flavor is delicious without the extra calories.

Some of my favorite combinations include:

• sliced strawberries + basil
• sliced cucumber + lime
• raspberries + sliced lemon
• sliced oranges + cilantro
• lime + fresh mint
• sliced grapefruit, lemon, and oranges

Just add any combination of the above ingredients to water and ice and chill for a couple of hours. You can reuse the herbs and fruit a few times before eating or discarding.

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Author: Mindful Nutrition and Wellness

Holistic Health Coach, mindfulnutritionandwellness.com

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