Summer is upon us, which means the sun is shining, the weather is warmer and the days are getting longer. The warmer weather also means many of us will swap out our warm beverages for cool, refreshing ones.
It’s also time to start getting ready for summer bathing suit season and to start shedding those extra pounds gained over the winter months. An easy way to cut your calories is to swap out your beverages for low-calorie versions. Many of us don’t consider the calories we drink, but they impact our waistlines just as much as the food we eat. There are a number of substitutions available that allow you to enjoy a great tasting beverage while reducing the calories in them.
Here are some techniques you can try this spring!
Citrus and herbs can add a layer of flavor to any beverage. Dried or fresh herbs add an earthy aroma and citrus can bring out flavors while adding brightness and color. Try skipping the added sugar or honey and let the lemon and mint flavors stand out, or use a sugar substitute like aspartame to satisfy your sweet tooth. Have a go at one of these tea recipes: Sweet & Spice Sun Tea or Cool Peach Tea.
Incorporate whole fruits and vegetables. Adding pieces of fruit and vegetables, like tomato and basil or cantaloupe and watermelon, can add considerable flavor to your water. The more time the fruits and vegetables soak in the water, the more flavor is infused. The added fruits and veggies can also make a small snack as well. Or consider a smoothie made with light yogurt as a snack that provides fruit and dairy servings.
Try these flavored water combinations this spring and summer.
Spices can add flavor, aroma, color, and enhance taste with each spice providing unique qualities to a beverage. Spices allow you to explore different ethnic cuisines and flavor profiles: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory. Cold brew coffees can have lower acidity and bitterness so you may enjoy the coffee without needing sugar, flavors or creams. Consider a cold brewed coffee, like this one with spices and fruit flavors on a warm day. And since spring can still mean cooler temperatures, add a cinnamon stick to sugar-free hot chocolate for a Mexican spin.
Some people enjoy the bubbly feeling of carbonation in their mouth. It’s easy to find flavored sparkling waters and diet sodas that are calorie free, but you can also experiment with flavors and make your own.