Refreshing, Healthful Ways to Cool Down and Hydrate This Summer
Did you know that the general recommendation for water intake per day is around 6-8 cups? (However, some individuals may need more fluids, depending on climate, exercise, sweat loss, and other health parameters.) As summer heat rises, the need to stay hydrated rises. The average adult is about 60% water, so the more fluids we lose through sweating, the more we need to be constantly replenishing.
Water should make up the majority of your fluid intake, but adding in other low sugar, healthy drinks throughout the day can help add flavor as you stay hydrated. Here are some ways to stay cool this summer that are more enjoyable than drinking plain water, and more healthy than sugar-filled drinks!
These healthful ways to cool down have some things in common:
· Low in added sugar
· Based on fresh, in-season fruits (except the coffee)
· Easy to make!
Easy, 2-Minute Smoothies
There are limitless ways to make easy, refreshing smoothies! One easy approach is to blend 1-2 cups of frozen fruit, a banana, a handful of leafy greens, and ½-1 cup of liquid, such as coconut water, dairy or non-dairy milk, or other desired liquid. To add sweetness, add a dash of vanilla extract or honey.
If your fruit isn’t frozen, use fresh fruit and add a handful of ice cubes to get a cold, refreshing smoothie. You can also add a few fresh mint leaves for even more flavor and refreshment.
Optional add-ins include a tablespoon of nut butter, protein powder, yogurt, avocado, or other fruit/vegetable combinations.
Fresh Fruit Iced Tea
You can make iced tea ahead of time by steeping 6 tea bags to 8 cups of hot water (depending on desired strength of tea). Let steep for about 3-4 minutes, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
When serving iced tea, add some washed berries or slices of oranges, lemons or limes to each cup. To get a stronger fruit flavor, muddle or cut up berries so that more flavor gets absorbed. If you need added sweetness, add just a touch of honey or maple syrup to each glass.
Watermelon is arguably one of the most refreshing ways to cool down in the summer. As its name suggests, the watermelon is made up mostly of water. It is also a source of the electrolyte potassium, which can further its re-hydrating effects.
“Veggie Inspired” has an easy recipe for Watermelon Juice that simply combines 3 cups of cubed, seedless watermelon with the juice of one lemon, ½ cup of coconut water, one cup of ice cubes, and an (optional) small amount of maple syrup or other liquid sweetener.
A cup of this juice provides under 100 calories, 10% DV potassium, 72% DV vitamin C, and 26% DV vitamin A.
Low Sugar, Homemade Popsicles
Popsicles can be oh-so-refreshing because they are frozen, of course! As such, they seem like they can literally lower our body temperatures in hot climates.
Making your own popsicles can be easy if you have a popsicle mold, which can be less than $20. These popsicle recipes are low in sugar and they utilize fruit, which provides antioxidants and vitamins, all the while cooling us down when we are hot.
Very Berry Popsicles use only frozen berries, a handful of spinach, orange juice, and chia seeds.
Vegan Strawberry Coconut Popsicles provide a creamy, dairy-free option using fresh strawberries, coconut milk, shredded and unsweetened coconut, and a dash of maple syrup.
Strawberry Balsamic Popsicles need only three ingredients: fresh or frozen strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and honey.
Watermelon Popsicles can be made from just a few ingredients, similar to watermelon juice. All you need to do is blend the watermelon, lime juice, and a little sugar.
Infused Sparkling Water
Like the fruit iced teas, sparkling water can be used as a base for building simple, refreshing, healthful summer drinks. Simply fill a pitcher with seltzer water and add optional ice cubes if desired. Then, add in any combination of crushed/chopped/juiced fruits and vegetables (1-2 cups total, depending on desired flavor) to your pitcher. Put the pitcher in the refrigerator overnight to infuse optimal flavors from fruit.
Refreshing combinations can include:
Blueberry, raspberry, and mint
Strawberry and lime
Watermelon and cucumber
Homemade Iced Vanilla Coffee
Iced or hot coffee drinks can be deceptively high in added sugars and calories. Making your own iced coffee drink at home, like healthy iced coffee from iFOODreal, can be quicker, less expensive, and lower in sugar than an iced coffee bought from somewhere else.
For a serving of iced vanilla coffee, simply add a tall cup of ice, cold coffee, milk (dairy or dairy alternative), and vanilla extract. If you need more sweetness, add just a touch of preferred sweetener.
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