Forget the sugar-laden sodas and sweet iced teas you indulge in each and every summer. Instead, beat the heat with healthy flavoured waters that you can make at home.
Summer is synonymous with heat waves, backyard barbecues, and long, lazy days spent sipping icy cold drinks. Sadly, many classic summer beverages are laden with unwanted sugar. This year, skip the iced lattes and corner store slushies in favour of fruit, veggie, and herb infused waters.
Is sugar really so bad?
Yes—the evidence is clear: sugary drink consumption can wreak havoc on your health. It’s associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gout.
For optimal health, the World Health Organization recommends no more than 5 percent of your daily caloric intake come from added sugar. For the average adult with a normal body mass index (BMI), 5 percent amounts to 25 g, or approximately 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sugar.
It turns out that 25 g is a pretty easy amount to swallow. Just 1 cup (250 mL) of cola contains approximately 26 g of sugar; commercially prepared lemonade, around 25 g; and sweetened iced tea, 22 g.
Don’t be fooled by fruit juice. Although derived from fruit, unsweetened juice is often just as sugary as soda. Stripped of the fibre found in whole fruit, the sugar in fruit juice is rapidly absorbed, spiking blood sugar levels. When consumed daily, research suggests fruit juice may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
Although soda and juice may taste refreshing, their thirst-quenching abilities are quickly diminished as your body uses up water reserves to process the sugar they contain. Essential to human life, water plays a critical role in every process in your body. Naturally free of sugar and calories, nothing does a better job at keeping your body hydrated than plain old H2O.
Plus, water doesn’t have to mean boring. Deliciously refreshing, these summer-inspired infused waters are sure to satisfy.
- Very Cherry Vanilla Bean “Soda”
- Cucumber, Melon, Mint Mixer
- Basil, Blueberry, Orange Punch
- Watermelon, Raspberry, Lemon Slush
How to make dazzling ice cubes
For ice that makes a splash, follow these simple steps. You can suspend almost anything edible inside an ice cube.
- Fill each slot of an ice cube tray about one-third full of water. Freeze for about an hour.
- Place the items you wish to suspend inside the ice cubes on top of the newly frozen ice.
- Add a little more water to each ice cube slot—just enough to partially cover the items being frozen, but not enough to make the items float. Freeze for another hour.
- Fill each ice cube slot fully with water, and freeze again until ready to use.
For crystal-clear ice cubes, use distilled water that’s been boiled and allowed to cool. Impurities found in regular filtered water may create air bubbles, which cause ice cubes to appear cloudy.
Fun things to freeze
- edible flowers such as roses, daisies, and lavender
- fresh herbs such as basil, mint, dill, chives, and rosemary
- whole berries, cherries, and grapes
- lemon, lime, and orange wedges
- melon balls