By Erin Weber OSU Dietetic Intern
The temperature is rising and so is your thirst! Summer is traditionally a time for those light, colorful and tasteful drinks like lemonade, iced tea, Piña Colada’s and other fruity drinks that make us feel like we are sipping our beverage seaside. But, just how “light” are these drinks? The big question is how can we splurge on taste, but not our waist?
So what is the best choice for summer drinks? Water! It is cool and refreshing, but if you ever get tired of drinking plain water, add flavor with fresh squeezed lemons and limes or even freeze fresh fruit for a fun and fashionable drink that your guests will love. Crystal Light packets are also great options that have numerous flavors available. Iced tea comes in at second best if drinking plain or substituting granulated sugar for sugar syrup. Sugar syrup can be prepared by boiling half sugar and half water until it becomes clear. By using this mixture, less sugar is used and it also prevents all of that granulated sugar from falling to the bottom of your glass to drink mindlessly.
Soda is one if the worst choices for drinks, not only in the summer time, but all year long. One 12 ounce can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar! Diet soda may be a lower calorie/lower sugar option for many; however it is important to keep in mind that soda contains many chemicals that are not beneficial or necessary for your body.
Alcohol is another frequent ingredient used in drinks in the summer. Beer, cocktails and other mixed drinks are fine in moderation, but when drank in excess can lead to poor decision making resulting in unhealthful food choices and unwanted pounds that you worked so hard to get off. After all, you want to enjoy the summer months, not forget them! Some alcoholic beverages, such as wine, have even been shown to have health benefits when consumed in the recommended amounts. To help keep close tabs on caloric intake, one ounce of distilled alcohol is about 100 calories, 12 ounces of regular beer is roughly 150 calories and 5 ounces of wine has approximately 80 calories. However, fear not, there are ways to lighten up your favorite drinks. For example, when ordering a margarita, request more ice and less tequila or create your own concoction using ice, vodka and crystal light packets of your choice.
That picture we have in our heads of being seaside with drink in hand can still come true without having to purchase another wardrobe of sun dresses and swimsuits. I think we can all cheers to that!