Does anyone else feel themselves drawn to all things SUGAR when the heat hits?
I KNOW it isn’t just me. It seems like all refreshing relief from warmer temps is packed full of refined sugar; popsicles, slushies, sweet teas, soda, sport drinks, and of course ICE CREAM. But what if I told you that you can get the same relief, while avoiding the sugar high (and eventual crash)?
Today I am sharing some of my favourite summer treats that are either sugar free, or refined sugar free (swapping refined white sugar for more natural sugar sources). Up first…
The Chilled Tea
If you are anything like me the thought of a hot tea on a hot day is suffocating. But what if you brewed up a batch of your favourite herbal blend, let it cool, and tossed in a few ice cubes? MUCH BETTER RIGHT?!
This is a super simple way to sneak in some flavour to your daily hydration goals, while savouring the tastes of summer. Try a brewed green tea and finish with some citrus, or a fruity herbal blend finished with some frozen berries to jazz it up a bit.
The Homemade Popsicle
This is a classic that is so often forgotten. Grab yourself a popsicle mold and go crazy with your favourite smoothie, juice and tea blends.
Smoothies– this is a great way to use up the leftover smoothie from your morning blend, or make a fresh batch incorporating some of your favourite summer fruits. You can throw in some coconut yogurt, or nut milk for a creamy treat, or keep things icy with blended fruit and water. I also love a good chocolate banana flavour, which is as simple as coconut milk, blended with some raw cacao, raw banana and a dash of real maple syrup ( a natural sweetener packed full minerals).
Juices– this is where you want to avoid store bought juice “blends” because they are PACKED with sugar. Instead you can use that dusty juicer to make some deliciously refreshing blends, and freeze them up. This can be a great way to incorporate juiced greens (kale, spinach, parsley, celery etc.) to take a break from the natural sugars. Don’t have a juicer? Visit a local health food store, or real juice shop and freeze up some of their delicious (refined sugar free) blends.
Tea– take your beautiful brew from above and freeze it, easy peasy!
The Sport Drink
The well known and advertised sport drink brands are unfortunately packed full of UNNECESSARY sugars and dyes, and while they are effective at replenishing your electrolyte stores there are a couple things to keep in mind.
First of all, the level of electrolytes and sugars are rendered unnecessary, unless you are taking on extreme physical feats (think ultra marathons). But, if you do find yourself sweating excessively, and/or looking for a super refreshing drink after a tough workout consider natural alternatives like the following: natural coconut water (be sure to real the label to ensure there are no added sugars), lemon/lime/ orange water, blended watermelon juice (or the sliced crunchy variety works just as well).
You can also get a similar benefit from a tall glass of water paired with dried dates, banana and/or raisins.
The Ice Cream
I am not going to say NEVER consume ice cream, because I am just not a deprivation gal, and I know how delicious ice cream can be. But I will share a couple tips to keep those sugar levels in check:
You can make your own banana ice cream with a couple simple steps: slice up a banana, throw it in the freezer and wait until hardened. Throw the frozen banana in your food processor, add your flavour of choice (I always love a good raw cacao hit), and a dash of your favourite nut milk. Blend it up and enjoy.
Pick your brand wisely. Your local health food store/market likely carries some brands that are smaller batch, but made with higher quality ingredients. While I tend to reach for dairy free options (out of necessity), my absolute FAVOURITE is Coconut Bliss (Mint Chocolate Chip of course).
Avoid the late night snack. If you are going to indulge, try to avoid consuming it before bed. Instead have it mid-day, better yet pair it with a protein source like a nut butter drizzle to help slow down the sugar release.
The Good ‘Ol Fashion… Water
Chances are you already know this one, but have you tried sprucing up this ‘ol faithful with some exciting seasonal flavours? Give some of these combinations a whirl and watch your intake increase in no time at all.
- Mint + Lemon
- Lime + Rosemary
- Frozen Berries
- Cucumber + Mint
- Orange + Lemon
- Pineapple + Berries
- Melon (Cantaloupe, Watermelon + Honeydew)