When the topic of "Summertime Beverages" first popped up as a possibility for The Recipe ReDux, I immediately thought of the drink that saved me a few summers ago when I was pregnant with my first son:
It's really more of a recipe formula than a strict prescript for the palate. But it's a special sipper that I have grown to love. Based on the following formula, you can make enough for yourself or for a crowd.
1 part 100% 'berry juice*
2 parts club soda or seltzer
1 squeeze fresh lime juice per glass
Lime slices, garnish
*I liked cranberry juice when I was pregnant, but have come to enjoy a number of berry blends since ...and while not a true "berry" drink, I consider pomegranate an excellent choice, as well. You choose your favorite.
What To Drink
It may sound overly simple, but the "what will you have to drink" question isn't all that simple from a health standpoint. Studies show that the amount of calories we consume in the form of beverages has steadily increased over the years, possibly accounting for half of all the extra calories we consume a day. As a nation that is literally being crushed under the weight of our own obesity, those are calories we can't afford to add each day.
The flip side to that equation is that for the most part, these calories aren't coming in the form of nutrient-rich, hunger-satisfying foods. They're just extra energy that our bodies don't burn... and in my opinion, provide a constant sweet-feed to our tastebuds - a tough cycle to break with folks who are trying to learn to live with less sugar overall. Similarly, artificially sweetened beverages fall into this same category. I do not drink artificially sweetened beverages any more and do not serve them to my family for a number of reasons that are best left to another blog post. But in terms of the "sweet-tastebud-cycle" I put artificially sweetened beverages in that same category and recommend against them.
Enjoying a beverage that is only slightly sweetened with a small amount of 100% fruit juice is the best way to start enjoying a less sweet, but equally refreshing beverage. Whether you are a pregnant woman avoiding an afternoon cocktail, a mom role modeling better beverage choices or just an everyday eater wishing to avoid excess calories, this beverage basic is a must-have in your repertoire. It's easy to create at home, looks festive at parties and is a delightfully refreshing choice to order from a bar in between more adult choices.
...and speaking of adult choices...for those times when a little more of an adult "bubbly" is in order, it's also the perfect place to add in a little sparkling wine. My preference is to substitute 1 part of the soda with 1 part of Prosecco - a popular Italian sparkling wine. Having attended a wonderful session this spring at the CIA in Greystone, I have come to embrace both the benefits & risks of alcohol consumption.
The lesson I learned - all alcohols are created the same, in terms of benefit (spirts vs. beer vs. wine - all contain ethanol, the primary benefactor). But all alcohols are not created the same, in terms of overall ethanol content (sprits vs. beer vs. various wines). Why is this important? Ever noticed a difference in the way you feel after one glass of Shiraz vs. one glass of Pinot Grigio? It's the difference in the ethanol content #duh. The ethanol is the beneficial component of alcohol, but there is a limit to it's benefit. Too much of a good thing, is well, too much.
The reason I mention it is that as much as I love the extol the health benefits of delicious wines, the discussion can't stop there. There are risks associated with excess alcohol consumption, including behaviorial risks, emotional issues and perhaps most well studied, the possible increased risk of breast cancer. All in all enjoying a drink with friends or a glass of wine with dinner is certainly considered a healthy option and one that I support. But the health benefits of alcohol are not a prescription for excess consumption. Period.
So that's why I view Berry-Lime Bubbly as the healthiest place to begin when someone says "What will you have to drink?" It may be in a glass or in a stem, made with pomegranate or Prosecco, but it will always be a healthy, simple and delicious choice no matter what the occasion.
To see what other Recipe ReDux members are sipping on this summer, please visit the blogs below:
Carlene Helble @ Carlene's Figments - Mint Berry Seltzer
Kara Lydon @ Peace, Love, and Food - Blueberry Basil Lemonade Fizz
Deanna Segrave-Daly @ Teaspoon of Spice - Cantaloupe Basil Aqua Fresca Fizz
Jessica Fishman Levinson @ Nutritioulicious - Blueberry Basil Cooler
Marie Spano @ Performance Nutrition - Post-Workout Power Smoothie
Elizabeth Jarrard @ Don't White Sugar-Coat It - Southern Blackberry Smash
Emily Greenfield @ The Nutriscientist - Apple, Pear and Strawberry Smoothie with Chia
Kristen Bourque @ Swanky Dietitian - Fresh Fruit and Club Soda Cooler
Kat Lynch @ Eating the Week - Sparkling Melon Fizz - Nice & Naughty
Lisa @ Healthful Sense - Berry Refreshing Chia Seed Smoothie
EA Stewart @ The Spicy RD - Gingery Peach Float
Alysa Bajenaru @ Inspired RD - Blackberry Banana Swirl
Ann Dunaway Teh @ Eat to Nourish, Energize & Flourish - Pregnancy Mocktails
Yuri @ Chef Pandita - Green Tea Ginger Limeade with Chia Seeds
Karman Meyer @ Nutrition Adventures - Orange-Mint Iced Green Tea
Cherie Schetselaar @ Grain Crazy - Mango Strawberry Smoothie
Emma Stirling @ The Scoop on Nutrition - Recipe Redux Tangelo-ade