As summer heat rises, the need to stay hydrated rises. The average adult is about 60% water. The more fluids we lose through sweating, the more they need to constantly be replenished. Here are some ways to stay cool this summer that are more enjoyable than just drinking plain water all day and more healthy than drinking sugar-filled drinks.
You may know the general recommendation for water per day is around 6-8 cups. However, some individuals may need more fluids than this amount depending on climate, exercise, sweat loss and other health parameters.
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 cool and hydrated.
These healthful ways to cool down this summer have some things in common:
- They are all low in added sugar
- They are low in calories
- They all (except the coffee) have fresh, in-season fruit as a base
- They are 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 but add a handful of ice cubes to get a cold, refreshing smoothie. You can also add a few fresh mint leaves which add even more flavor and refreshment.
Optional add-ins include a tablespoon of nut butter, protein powder, other fruit/vegetable combinations, yogurt or avocado.
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, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
When serving iced tea, add in each cup some washed berries and cut up slices of oranges, lemons or limes. To get a stronger fruit flavor, muddle berries or cut up so 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. Watermelon, as the name suggests, is mostly water. It is also a source of the electrolyte potassium which can further its rehydrating effects.
Sure you have eaten many watermelons, but have you had watermelon juice?
Veggie Inspired has an easy recipe for Watermelon Juice that simply combines 3 cups of cubed, seedless watermelon with juice of one lemon, ½ cup of coconut water, one cup of ice cubes and 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. They and other frozen foods can seem like they can literally lower our body temperature 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, use fruit and therefore provide a source of antioxidants and vitamins while cooling us down when we are hot.
- Very Berry Popsicles uses only frozen berries, a handful of spinach, orange juice and chia seeds.
- Vegan Strawberry Coconut Popsicles provide a creamy, dairy-free popsicle using only fresh strawberries, coconut milk, shredded, 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, like watermelon juice, from just a few ingredients. All you need to do is blend watermelon, lime juice and a little sugar.
Infused Sparkling Water
Like the fruit iced teas, sparkling water can be a base for building simple, refreshing, healthful summer dinks. 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 pitcher in 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 quick, less expensive and lower in sugar compared to buying an iced coffee somewhere else.
For a serving of iced vanilla coffee, simply add in 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.