Healthy-ish drinks that are more exciting than water
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Summer has made its way into North America, which means more of us will be reaching for cold drinks. While water is still the top recommended drink, I am well aware that many (including myself) find drinking only water can get boring. Nourishing ourselves with both food and drink is important, but there are ways to nourish ourselves in a healthy way and still have fun!
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In this blog, I’ll discuss summer hydration tips, reveal some of my favourite drink recipes and share tips on how to enjoy summer outdoors without worrying about dehydration. First off, my take on popular drinks!
Re-think Your Drink
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While I work with an all foods fit approach, there are drinks I never recommend. Soda or pop is a once in a while treat, maybe enjoyed at a pizza party. To clarify, when I say “never recommend” I mean I will never consider them a healthy food or drink!
So why does everyone think diet soda is bad?
There has been insect studies demonstrating that consuming diet soda for a long period of time can result in eating more calories than when eating naturally sweet foods. But human beings are not insects. There is also evidence that daily diet soda can lead to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes (known as metabolic syndrome when these conditions occur together).
Personally, I don’t worry about a diet soda once in a while if overall you’re eating a healthy diet, and the diet soda is not replacing real, healthy meals. But I’ve noticed diet drinks can mess with your taste buds, making you crave more sweet foods than if you drank the regular soda. If diet soda has replaced all fluids (ie. water) you drink, or you find you are drinking 2 or more cans per day, it’s time to rethink the habit!
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It’s very Canadian sit on a patio with a drink on a hot summer day. However, alcohol messes with the part of the brain that regulates water levels in our body. Normally when you are starting to get dehydrated, the part of your brain called the posterior pituitary gland sends out anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH tells the kidneys to hold onto more water. Alcohol messes with this hormone, reducing how much ADH you make, so you end up urinating more than normally when you drink alcohol. This can lead to dehydration and that nasty hangover the next morning, especially if you overdo it on the alcohol and don’t re-hydrate with water! Therefore,
For every serving of alcohol, an equal sized serving of fluid is needed to replenish the losses on a hot summer day.
Healthy Drinks More Exciting Than Water
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Water can be boring, so what to drink instead?
Morning Summer Smoothies
Smoothies are for summer. I honestly don’t usually go for smoothies in the winter, because it’s just too cold and dark in the morning when I prefer something warm and comforting. A smoothie is a great way to help get your day going:
Orange Blueberry Morning Smoothie
- ½ cup Florida Orange Juice
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (for added fibre)
- ½ cup water (use less for a thicker consistency)
Blend all ingredients together. Serves 1.
The blueberries provide fibre, antioxidant anthocyanins. Orange juice provides vitamin C, potassium, folate, thiamin as well as calcium and vitamin D in fortified options (1). Added protein helps stabilize your blood sugars, ground flax adds some fibre and healthy omega fats. Water and orange juice also provide hydration!
Fruit Infused Flavoured Water
Add fruit to you water to give it more flavour. Strawberries, citrus fruits (orange, lemons, limes, grapefruit), cucumber are all popular ones. Be careful with too many of these acidic fruits however, as they can contribute to teeth enamel erosion. Rinsing your mouth with plain water after can help.
If you still find this too boring, try…
Half Water, Half Florida Orange Juice
This is something I do often when in need of an energy and mood booster, and I really don’t want plain water: Mix half a glass of water (plain tap water or sparkling) with ½ cup of Florida Orange Juice. Water is important, but studies show people who consume orange juice have higher intake of whole and total fruit, helping people to meet the total intake of fruits and vegetables recommended (1). The majority of Canadians still do not meet the recommended daily intake of vegetables and fruit per day (2).
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Who drinks iced black coffee? Not me! And if you do, please enlighten me as to why? An iced coffee can be a quick energy boost, provided it’s not loaded with cream or added sugar. Try coffee on ice with 2% milk with 1-2 tsp sugar to sweeten.
Tea is another one. You can infuse mint or other tea leaves to make your own tea. Brew tea and allow to cool. Serve over ice.
Despite being diuretics, coffee and tea do count towards hydration. Don’t fall for the myth!
Eat Your Water
Photo by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay
Eat your water. Fruit and vegetables are great. Watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, spinach, blueberries and lettuce give you fibre and hydration. Make a delicious salad to enjoy on a hot day. I love fruit salad in the summer!
Summer Hydration and Exercise
Many of you perform more physical activity outdoors. Prolonged exercise (over an hour) combined with hot weather can lead to fluid losses causing dehydration.
But why spend money on sports drinks when you can make your own electrolyte beverage that’s more nutritious?
Dissolve ¼ tsp salt into ½ cup water and ½ cup Florida Orange Juice. The salt provides sodium (much needed electrolytes to replace the losses), orange juice provides potassium (another electrolyte). I’m not too concerned with the sugar because a ½ cup (120 mL) serving contains about 10.5 g of naturally occurring sugar, while a medium sized orange has approximately 14 g of sugar. More info about sugar in orange juice at floridacitrus.ca/oj.
Summer is short in Canada, so you need to enjoy it! I understand that alcohol, soda and diet soda are fun drinks. You can have them and still be healthy but remember to consume in moderation! I hope I’ve given you some tips and ideas on how to make staying hydrated more exciting than drinking plain water!
Welcome, I'm Michelle! I'm a TV and digital media registered dietitian and Asian cuisine content creator based out of Hamilton, ON Canada!
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