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South Texas Living


Healthy Living: Low-cal summer refreshers




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Charles Stuart Platkin, PhD.
August 13, 2014 | 3,180 views | Post a comment

Here are several lower-calorie drinks to help quench your summer thirst and fill your belly. Keep in mind that seltzer, unsweetened iced tea, and water are real low-calorie alternatives, but in case you’re looking for a few others, here you go.

Cucumber Agua Fresca Healthy recipe from Cooking Light Chill: Smoothies, Slushes, Shakes, Juices, Drinks & Ices by the editors of Cooking Light magazine

Makes 2 servings

2 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp water

1 3/4 cups peeled cucumber slices (about 1 medium cucumber)

1/4 cup water

3 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)

1 1/2 cups crushed ice

2 cups lime-flavored sparkling water, chilled

Cucumber ribbons (optional)

Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high for 2 minutes or until mixture boils, stirring every 1 minute. Cool. Place cucumber slices and 1/4 cup water in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl to measure 1 cup liquid; discard solids. Combine cucumber liquid and sugar syrup in a small pitcher. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until thoroughly chilled; stir in lime juice. Place 3/4 cup crushed ice in each of 2 glasses. Pour 1/2 cup cucumber mixture into each glass. Add 1 cup sparkling water to each glass. Garnish with cucumber ribbons, if desired. Nutrition per serving: 44 calories

Summer Wind

Healthy recipe from 101 Tropical Drinks by Kim Haasarud

Makes 1 serving

10 ripe blueberries, plus extra for garnish

2 ripe strawberries, plus 1 strawberry half for garnish

1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice

1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice

1 1/2 ounces Jamaican rum

1 ounce coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez)

Pineapple leaf, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except the garnishes in a blender cup. Blend on high for 10 seconds. Add 3/4 cup of ice. Blend on high for 10 to 15 seconds until smooth. Pour into a tropical cocktail glass. Garnish with the pineapple leaf, strawberry half and a few blueberries.

Nutrition per serving: 273 calories

Sparkling Basil Lemonade

Healthy Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Quick & Healthy Book: More Than 400 Low-Cal Recipes with 15 Grams of Fat or Less, Ready in 30 Minutes by the editors of Better Homes and Gardens magazine

Makes 16 (8-ounce) servings

4 cups water

3 cups sugar

2 cups fresh basil leaves (about 11/2 ounces)

2 1-liter bottles club soda, chilled

2 cups lemon juice

Ice cubes

1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, sliced

Fresh basil leaves

Basil Syrup: In a large saucepan combine the water, sugar and the 2 cups basil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Strain syrup and discard leaves. Cover syrup and place in freezer for 10 minutes or chill for 2 to 24 hours.

Lemonade: In a very large punch bowl, combine chilled basil syrup, club soda and lemon juice. Serve over ice. Garnish with chile pepper slices and fresh basil leaves. Nutrition per serving: 155 calories

Refreshing Mango Iced Tea

Healthy recipe by Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., co-editor of website www.Appforhealth.com and co-author of 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions

Makes 4 Servings

3 cups iced green or black tea

1 cup fresh mango cubes

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

2 tbsp honey

4 fresh mint leaves or mango slices for garnish

Combine and puree all the ingredients except the garnish, and pour over ice into four 16-ounce glasses. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or a slice of mango. Nutrition per serving: 76.5 calories

Charles Platkin, Ph.D., is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.
 

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