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four cold drink ideas

16 May

I don’t know about you, but when it starts to get hot, sodas and fancy iced coffee drinks start sounding almost irresistibly appealing.

Here are a few ideas that might satisfy your wish for something cold and refreshing without adding a bunch of sugar to your day.

1. Iced tea. Tried and true, iced tea is one of the most satisfying cold drinks in the world. I have never liked sweet tea, so that wasn’t an adjustment for me, but if you like yours sweet, you can start by reducing the proportion of sugar to half or three-quarters of what you usually use. Cut it back gradually until you’re drinking it straight (or with a modest dose of sweetener). I use decaf tea because I drink gallons of it, but if you’re only having a glass or two, it probably doesn’t matter much whether you drink the caffeinated version or not.

2. Iced herbal tea. If you don’t like ordinary tea–or if you want a change of pace–there are countless herbal teas that make excellent cold drinks. Mint is my favorite (I like the Wegmans house brand of peppermint tea or the Bigelow Plantation Mint Tea
kind), but just go to your grocery store and take a look. If you like it fruity, try a citrus variety; if spicy is more your thing, try the mint or a chai variety. If it’s just straight-up herbal tea, it won’t contain sugar or other additives.

Be careful about pre-mixed tea concentrates, though, like the Tazo chai–those are loaded with sugars. Oregon Chai does make a Slightly Sweet
variety that I love; it has substantially less sugar than most, but it’s still something to consume in moderation.

3. Iced coffee. If you make your own, this can be relatively healthful. Try this (especially if you don’t need your drinks very sweet): cold-brew a strong cup of coffee. Pour it over ice; add an equal amount of milk; and drizzle in a bit of chocolate syrup. Don’t forget to figure in that chocolate syrup with your day’s eating plans–but it doesn’t take much. I use the regular Hershey’s syrup and put in about half of a serving, but you could also use a sugar-free variety or a sugar-free flavored syrup of some other kind (like Torani).

4. Gin and tonic. If you’re in the mood for something refreshing and boozy, diet tonic water + gin + the juice of half a lime is a great summer drink, and lower in calories/carbohydrates than a lot of mixed drinks. A single glass of wine is also a reasonable choice. For me, the gin and tonic also satisfies my love for bubbly drinks without resorting to soda.