For Better Living: Cool Tips for Summer Drinks

There’s nothing better than a cool drink on a hot summer day to help you feel refreshed.

You can enjoy summer drinks from an abundance of options which look incredibly delicious. But remember that some can really pack on the calories in no time.

— Energy drinks. Think twice before swigging one of these for a cool kick-start to your day. One energy drink that is heavily advertised is Red Bull which has a lot of sugar (two tablespoons) and caffeine (three times the amount in a can of cola). These drinks also are acidic, so the price you may pay for cooling off could be dental erosion. A recent study showed that Red Bull may cause more harm to tooth enamel than soda, Gatorade or a coffee drink. With these energy drinks it’s recommended that you use a straw to reduce contact of the liquid with your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after finishing the drink.

— Sweet tea and other sugary drinks. These can contribute 200 to 300 calories a day. The calories in soda can range from zero for a diet soda, to 140 for a 12-ounce can, to 550 for a large soda. In addition to extra calories, they don’t have much nutritious punch. Of particular concern are children who may be drinking these less nutritious beverages instead of milk, which helps build strong bones and teeth and is a source of protein for growing kids.

— Fruit drinks. If it’s fruit, it must be good for you, right? If it’s 100 percent fruit juice, the juice’s calories come with nutrients. If it’s fruitade, fruit punch or fruit drink, it’s more likely fruit-flavored sugar water with few nutrients. It pays to read the label to be sure you’re getting what you think you are. Snapple kiwi strawberry juice drink and Tropicana 100 percent orange juice both provide 220 calories in 16 ounces. The difference between them is the nutrient content.

— Frozen drinks. These are tempting on a hot day but some can make a major dent in an entire day’s calorie allowance. A 16-ounce Starbucks’ Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino blended coffee is 430 calories. An extra-extra large 40-ounce 7-11 Slurpee is 325 calories. You’ll spend a whopping 950 calories to enjoy a 15.5-ounce Dairy Queen chocolate chip cookie dough Blizzard or 1,110 calories on a 32-ounce McDonald’s triple thick shake.

Go online to your favorite vendor and check out the calorie-count in advance. Consider sharing with someone so you can enjoy a tasty treat and spare your waistline.

— Enhanced bottled water. Flavored, bottled water typically comes with extra calories. Vitamin Water has 125 calories in a 20-ounce bottle. Be sure to read the label and do the math if the label suggests the bottle contains two or more servings. You can add your own flavoring to water with a fresh squeezed lemon or lime for a calorie-free drink. It’s also worth checking the label for other additives, such as caffeine found in Propel Invigorating Water (50 mg) and Fruit 20 Energy Water (120 mg).

Unflavored water best choice to keep cool and hydrated

The best beverage choice to keep cool and hydrated is plain, unflavored water which is calorie-free. Although most of us want a cold drink on a hot day, you can drink water at the temperature. If you are exercising in these hot temperatures, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests drinking water cooler than air temperature because while exercising, you will likely drink more. That boosts rehydration.

The best thing about water compared to other calorie-laden beverages is that it is usually readily available and can quench your thirst without compromising your calorie intake or your food budget.

Source: Colorado Cooperative Extension


The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.

Raspberry Sweet Tea

4 quarts water, divided

Sugar substitute equal to 1 cup sugar

10 individual tea bags

1 package (12 ounces) frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and undrained

3 tablespoons lime juice

In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in sugar substitute until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add tea bags. Steep 5-8 minutes. Discard tea bags. In another saucepan, bring raspberries and remaining water to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 3 minutes. Strain and discard pulp. Add raspberry juice and lime juice to the tea. Transfer to a gallon pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled.