In our modern world we are surrounded with an amazing array of beverage choices. From soft drinks, sports drinks and the ever ubiquitous Starbucks latte, we have a huge menu to choose from. The problem is, if you look at the content labels you’ll find a lot of stuff you really don’t want in a healthy diet plan.
Things like HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), massive amounts of refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and the dreaded artificial food coloring. If your diet plan does not include caffeine, you’ll have an even harder time finding something to drink.
Are there beverages available that are healthy and refreshing without all the junk?
I went on a quest in my local supermarket to find out. I picked up cans of many products, only to find that even so called natural beverages have a lot of junk in them. The best products that I found were pure fruit juices. These were devoid of additives and added sugar, but they were so concentrated that the calorie count was sky high per 8oz glass.
Most pure fruit juice has between 120-140 calories per 8 oz glass. If you were to drink a glass at each meal you can easily add over 400 calories per day to your diet plan. If you are limiting calories to 1500-1800 a day like most weight loss plans you can see that this can easily put you over the top.
The other common beverage is tea. In it’s common fresh brewed form it contains no calories but does provide moderate amounts of caffeine. Tea comes in different flavor varieties and some companies offer decaffeinated versions. There is also a wide variety of herbal teas that contain no calories and most contain no caffeine.
Canned tea is a different story, with most varieties boasting huge amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners. For example, a 16 oz can of Lipton Raspberry iced tea comes in at 220 calories. Some of the tea drinks come in large bottles and can easily exceed 300 calories in one drink.
After a lot of experimenting I have found some custom made drinks that are refreshing, contain nothing artificial, and come in under 50 calories apiece. Here are three fast and easy beverages you can make at home.
1. Fruit juice spritzer. Take some club soda and add 20-30 percent by volume of fruit juice. Add ice and enjoy. With fruit juices like cranberry, blueberry, or even pomegranate, you can make a delicious sparkling drink in minutes. The great thing about this is it is easy to mix flavors and you can top it off with a lemon or lime slice. Fast, easy and it won’t kill your diet.
2. Custom fruit Teas. Brew up a pitcher of your favorite tea and add whole fruit or fruit puree for a great taste. If you pick up a partioned Ice Tea Maker you can make this blend effortlessly in no time at all. Just add hot water to the tea partition and fruit and cold water to the rest of the pitcher. Within minutes your delicious custom tea will be ready.
3. Light Fruit Soothie. Take a handful of your favorite fruit like peaches or mandarin oranges and puree them up in a blender. Add 8 oz of club soda or non-fat milk and reblend for a light and refreshing summertime drink. Top off with a garnish and some ice cubes for a fast and easy low calorie drink. A Hand Blender will make this task faster and make cleanup a snap.
Enjoy a healthy beverage today!