WhatŐs hot in cool summertime drinks?

By Rebecca Huber

The Zephyr, Galesburg


According to more recent studies, Americans as a whole are swigging fewer calorie-laden soft drinks and turning more to juice products that claim health benefits. As a whole itŐs a good shift but be sure to read the labels or you may just be replacing one high calorie drink for another.

Starting at the top of the list in body thirst quenchers — water. Nothing, no sports drink, tea, fruit juice smoothie or other beverage should replace water intake especially during these hotter dry summer days. If you are still using tap water, why not switch to bottled water? There is nothing like the pure taste of unadulterated non-chemicalized water. Spruce it up with a spritz of lemon or lime if you like.

Once you have your water needs met, look for some of these drinks to sooth and satisfy.

Fruit juice smoothies — fruit juice blended with yogurt or skim milk can be very satisfying. Why not make your own rather than buying them in the store? Prepared store smoothies are not only expensive watch out for those made with ice cream, corn syrup or peanut butter — the calorie count can go as high 300 calories per 6-8 ounce serving. To make a smoothie blend ½ cup of low fat yogurt, skim milk, rice or soy milk with your favorite fruits — one or several. If you freeze the fruit first it has that wonderful creamy smooth soft texture and is very thirst quenching.

Energy drinks can improve concentration, reaction time and endurance. Those that contain vitamins, amino acids and non-stimulating herbs and no caffeine are best. Again watch out for high sugar content. One might be better off to pass up the energy drink for a sports drink that has vitamins and minerals and re-hydrates on a deep level.

Iced teas are also wonderful thirst busters. Stick with non-caffeinated green teas or other favorites or try an herbal tea. Many herbal teas are naturally sweet without all the sugars and give your body a vitamin and mineral boost.

Meal replacement drinks like Slim-Fast, Yoplait and SnappleŐs new line promise nourishing, low calorie options and work to replace a meal and quench a thirst. However, they are higher in calories, artificial colors and other unhealthy ingredients. These may leave you feeling more thirsty in the end because the high protein content will kick in your bodyŐs need for water. They are fine now and then, but are best not used on a regular basis.

Fruit juice drinks are usually too high in sweeteners to be healthy or thirst quenching. Most are loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Some exceptions are fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice and 100 percent apple juice. Pay attention to portion size. A 4-6 ounce glass daily is adequate.

The very best and most complete thirst quencher? Water of course. Using water as your basic drink will keep cells hydrated and your thirst at bay. Till next time, Rebecca.