Low-calorie Summer Drinks

Summertime means backyard barbeques, poolside parties and heat waves that all leave you thirsting for some cold, quenching refreshment. Still, you’ll want to steer clear of drinks made from sugar-laden mixers. If you don’t want empty calories derailing this summer’s diet, we’ve got a few helpful suggestions and some refreshing recipes.

Chill Out with Soda Alternatives

Stay away from regular soda; with 155 calories in a 12-ounce can, those calories add up fast. Choose a low-calorie or no-calorie alternative. Replace regular soda with diet or preferably with seltzer, tonic water or club soda. Flavored mineral waters or seltzer with a slice of lemon or lime are another great way to stay cool.

Unsweetened flavored iced tea is another popular alternative to soda. Just brew your favorite flavored tea or green tea and refrigerate for several hours, then enjoy no-calorie refreshment and the benefit of those healthy antioxidants. Avoid sugary instant iced teas or bottled teas.

Enjoy your coffee on ice, but eliminate the sugar and by all means skip the whipped cream. Those sweet coffeehouse specialties can pack anywhere from 200 to 500 calories! Make your iced coffee drink with low-fat or non-fat milk and it becomes the perfect low-calorie cooler.

Low-Calorie Cocktails

When it’s party time, you can celebrate with some low-calorie cocktails and fruity drinks that hit the spot. Drinking alcohol in moderation won’t put a big dent in your diet plans. But, you’ll need to learn a few tricks to keep the calories at bay. Here are several smart low-cal ideas:

  • Low-Cal Cosmo – use reduced sugar, light cranberry juice and light citrus vodka, add a squeeze of lime and enjoy.
  • Zilch Margarita – Zilch makes a low carb, low calorie margarita mix that can save you the 400 calories of a regular Margarita. Add a little lime juice and go sit poolside.
  • Vodka, club soda, twist of lime – 64 calories
  • Rum and Zero Coke – 56 calories
  • White Wine Spritzer – 50 calories
  • Champagne – less than 100 calories

Stay away from creamy drinks like piña coladas that can weigh in at 340 calories or drinks made with regular soda.

Low-calorie drink mixes are available at places like Costco, Target and some liquor stores or go online and search out sugar free drink mixes. Those mixers that are sweetened with Splenda have no calories and no unpleasant after taste, unlike those made with aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. When blended with zero calorie mixers, the only calories you’ll face are from the alcohol itself.

If you enjoy having a glass of wine but don’t want the calories or are staying away from alcohol, then you may want to try amee, a low-calorie, alcohol-free wine with only 40 calories per bottle!

Here are two low-calorie drink recipes that we discovered online at www.fitnessmagazine.com. They are each under 100 calories. We hope you enjoy them. Search the web for your own exciting finds and have a wonderfully refreshing summer!

Sangria Sparkler

Sharing a pitcher of sangria with friends is a great way to kick off summer. Sliced oranges are a traditional addition to this refreshing Spanish beverage. With their bright red flesh, blood oranges give extra impact.

Prep: 10 minutes | Chill: 2 hours | Makes: 12 servings

  • 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
  • 1 cup light orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 medium oranges, sliced
  • 2 cups club soda, chilled
  • Crushed ice and/or orange peel curls (optional)

In a large pitcher, combine wine, orange juice, brandy, orange liqueur, sugar, and orange slices. Chill at least 2 hours. Add club soda before serving. Serve over crushed ice and/or with orange peel curls, if desired.

Nutrition Information per serving: 100 calories, 0g protein, 9g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber

Mojito Fresco

The popular Cuban cocktail’s combination of sweetness, citrus, and refreshing mint is the best way to fend off the summer heat wave.

Prep: 20 minutes | Chill: 1 hour  | Makes: 8 servings

  • 2 large limes, cut into pieces (reserve one piece)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup light rum
  • Sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Ice cubes
  • Quartered limes and/or mint leaves (optional)

In a blender combine lime pieces, 2 cups water, and 2/3 cup sugar. Cover and blend about 30 seconds or until limes are chopped; do not puree. Strain through a sieve into a large pitcher. Mix in 2 cups additional water. Cover and chill for 1 to 12 hours.

Stir rum into lime mixture. Moisten the rims of 8 glasses with the reserved lime piece; dip rims in sugar. Divide mint among glasses. Use a wooden spoon to press mint into the bottom of each glass; press firmly to release flavor. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour chilled lime mixture over ice and mint leaves. If desired, add extra quartered limes and/or mint leaves.

Nutrition Information per serving: 95 calories, 0g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 1g fiber

Remember, keep your overall alcohol consumption to a minimum, drink responsibly and don’t drive when you drink.