It’s nearly summer, time for barbecues and sunning on the patio. Here’s a number of low-carb drink choices to keep your summer cool and breezy.
Ah, summer! Time to chill out on the deck, kicking back with friends. But if you are not careful, you could undo an entire winter’s worth of low-carb weight loss in one or two drinks. Sodas, beers, wines, smoothies all contain a high amount of carbohydrates, and can add more than you would expect to your calorie intake from carbs. One 8oz serving of cola alone contains about 27-30g of carbohydrate. Add rum to that and… well, you see the problem.
‘So, I’ll drink diet, then,’ you think. But that in itself presents problems; high amounts of sodium and/or potassium. And frankly, wouldn’t anyone be bored with the same diet soft drink, all the time?
Here are some great new drinks that are sure to become your favorites.
Icy Almond Cappuccino
A summer tradition is an iced-coffee beverage served up by our best-known donut shop. But a single small serving (12 oz) of this yummy treat packs a walloping 32g of carbs, all from sugar. This low-carb substitute gives you all the Yummy, with none of the resulting tummy.
Recipe: Serves 2
1 tbsp instant coffee or 2 tsp instant espresso crystals* 1 tbsp (approx) boiling water 1 ½ cups non-sweetened Almond Milk (e.g. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze) 2 packets sugar substitute (stevia, Splenda, etc) 1 cup ice
- In a small cup or bowl, combine coffee crystals with water to dissolve. Pour into blender.
- Add almond milk, sweetener, and ice.
- Blend for 2-3 minutes on high until ice is finely crushed. Serve in a chilled glass with a straw.
- To make it really special, add a little cocoa or cinnamon dusted on top, or a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream. A mocha version can be made by using chocolate-flavor almond milk.
Flavoured Water – Cool as Cucumbers
Flavored waters are big hits at the moment – but if you have read the ingredients, you quickly realize there’s much more than was bargained for; a lot of artificial sweetener, artificial flavorings, and sometimes colorings and oil (which acts as a flavor carrier).
Make your own flavored waters quickly and easily. Simply slice 4-6 slices of any combination of the following ingredients, adding to a 2-quart pitcher (2-litre) of filtered tap water or carbonated filtered water:
Cucumber Cranberries Oranges Lemons Limes Grapefruit Strawberries - sliced Raspberries or blackberries (fresh, whole)
Some cool combinations: cucumber and limes, cranberries and lemons, grapefruit and raspberries.
Use organic where possible, and be sure to thoroughly wash the fruits or cucumber prior to slicing.
Teas for Two (or more)
Granny always said, never waste a good pot of tea… cold tea leftover in the pot was poured into a pitcher, ice and lemon juice added (about 1 tbsp per quart), and stored in the fridge for a cool drink the next day.
Iced teas can be made from many different types of herbal teas on the market today. The trick is to brew the preferred tea double-strength, let cool, then pour into the pitcher over ice. Lemon, lime or sweetener may be added to taste. Some great teas for icing: peppermint, rosehip, Constant Comment, chai, rooibos, green or ginger. Be brave and experiment a little! Add some almond milk for a full-bodied iced chai that is sure to wow family and friends at the next bbq. Combine peppermint with green tea for a spectacular beverage full of anti-oxidants.
Aqua-vitae: Low-carb Wines and Beers
No discussion about summer drinks would be complete without a discussion about alcohol, the main beverage of choice at many barbecues and picnics. Fortunately, low-carb’ers market demands have spurred breweries to create low-carb beers.
For oenophiles, a number of wineries are producing low-carb wines. Brown-Forman, for example, introduced a pair of California wines with names based on their carb counts; One.6 Chardonnay and One.9 Merlot. McWilliams Winery of Australia has released a sauvignon blanc and a shiraz called Balance, with 1.5g and 3g of carbs respectively. In large urban centers, your local liquor store or wine supplier can assist in finding other selections.
However, if your choices are limited in your region, an alternative is a wine spritzer. One ounce of wine, with 3-4 oz of soda water or sparkling mineral water, and a wedge of lemon or lime, creates a refreshing drink. True, the wine is diluted, but so are the carbs, making a little go a very long way. And the water works well to keep you hydrated during those warm summer evenings.
Low carb’ers rejoice! With a little research and a dash of creativity, a whole world of refreshing drinks awaits you!