Tag Archives: summer

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.

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summer food: part 1

4 May

So the heat is rolling in where I live; a young PCOS-sufferer’s thoughts inevitable turn to…tomatoes. And cheese. And, you know, other summer food.

Without further ado, I bring you: my summer food solution, which I reach for at least once a week when it’s hot. My family loves it (especially my kids–ages 3 and 1), and it’s easy, quick, and cool.

Choose the items you like; add anything that strikes your fancy or that is waiting impatiently in your fridge; arrange artfully on a few plates or on a platter; plunk in front of your hungry family; and eat! (Optional: wear a French scarf because it’s so European.) Try to choose from each category to make it a balanced meal; I usually try to skew toward fruits and vegetables because the presentation means that my kids are happy to eat them.

Fruits/Vegetables: grapes; strawberries; slices of kiwi; pineapple chunks; orange sections; lime or lemon wedges (my husband and kids will eat these like oranges….I think it’s crazy); carrot sticks, pepper strips, cucumber or tomato slices; leftover steamed or roasted vegetables.

Proteins: cheeses; lean deli meats, like turkey or chicken; nuts (I especially love Marcona almonds); hummus; tuna salad; hard-boiled eggs; if you’re feeling decadent, good salami or other charcuterie.

Grains/starches: whole wheat pita bread triangles (I toast them; so good with hummus!); homemade bread of any kind; popcorn; whole wheat crackers or rolls; leftover salads such as tabbouleh, pasta salad, etc.

Dips: salad dressing for vegetables; olive oil for dipping bread (especially with cracked pepper and a sprinkle of freshly-grated Parmesan).

This is a filling, lovely meal. The more vegetables and fruits you include, and the healthier your other choices, the better it is for you; at its best, this is a delicious, healthy dinner! It’s very hands-on, so it’s fulfilling in a sensory way; it’s also convivial and great for casual entertaining. And, as I said, it’s cool.