4 Summer Mocktails That Are Actually Low in Sugar

created by: Samantha Hall, CNP, Virtual Assistant and Content Creator with Healthy By Marjan


It's that time of year again, summertime! We love soaking up the sun and getting that natural vitamin D. A great addition to your perfect beach day or backyard BBQ socializing is a delicious cold beverage. These mocktails are fruity, fun, taste great and won't spike your blood sugar! There are a variety of flavours that will appeal to the taste buds of many. These are sure to be a crowd-pleaser! These recipes are non-alcoholic but if you wish to add your own, feel free to do so.



1. CHAI TEA TWIST

The main ingredient in this beverage is chai tea. Chai tea is a traditional black tea often made with spices. Common spices used include cardamon, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel nutmeg, turmeric and more. A hot beverage called Masala chai often has milk added to it. This recipe doesn't require milk, but if you want to swap out the sparkling water for full-fat milk or your favourite dairy alternative milk (i.e., coconut milk), it'll give it a creamier taste.


Ingredients:

  • Chai tea bags

  • Water

  • Ice

  • Vanilla extract

  • Sparkling water

  • Lemon slice


Instructions:


Fill a tall glass with ice. Add cold brewed chai tea until the glass is 3/4 full. Add just a drop or two of vanilla extract, if you like. Fill the glass with seltzer and float a slice of lemon on top. (0 carbs)

Benefits of this drink:

The chai tea itself has many benefits that you'll feel good about when drinking this iced tea. Black tea has caffeine for that energy boost but half the amount than your average cup of coffee. If you are looking to cut back your caffeine a bit, this is a great way to start! There is also no sugar in this drink, so you don't have to worry about it spiking your blood sugar. The vanilla extract gives it extra flavour, but if you want to add a little sweetness, choose liquid Stevia, raw honey or pure maple syrup. Honey and maple syrup are sugars that don't affect blood sugar the way refined sugar does and have added vitamins, minerals and boost our immunity.

Ginger and black pepper are two main ingredients in chai tea, and they both do wonders for our digestive systems. These spices help support our gut health, and ginger soothes stomach irritation explicitly, reducing stomach pains and nausea.

This drink can aid in weight loss; although this is not a weight-loss-promoting drink, this is one drink not to feel guilty about. It is zero calories (without adding dairy beverage), sugar-free, and has many nutritional benefits from all the beautiful spices. Studies have shown that cinnamon may help stabilize blood sugar and help with weight loss due to the fat-burning properties of the black tea. The flavonoids in black tea help to reduce inflammation and fat, particularly visceral fat (stomach fat), which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.


2. WATERMELON LEMONADE


Watermelon is a delicious summer treat! Watermelon is popular because it is sweet but packed with mostly water, therefore refreshing. Although watermelon is relatively high on the glycemic index, it is very low on the glycemic load. Both glycemic index and glycemic load consider how the body breaks down the food and affects blood sugar. When planning meals looking at a food's glycemic load is more beneficial because it considers every food component as a whole.


Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cubed seedless watermelon, chilled (2 lbs after peeling) *

  • 4 cups cold water

  • 3/4 cup fresh strained lemon juice, chilled

  • ½ cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)- can substitute liquid Stevia to taste preference (1 tbsp equals half a cup of sugar)

  • Ice and fresh mint for serving





Instructions:

Add the watermelon to a blender and puree (should make about 4 cups). Next, pour through a fine-mesh strainer. In a large pitcher, combine lemon, water and sugar of choice, mix in watermelon puree. Stir in ice and mint, chill in the refrigerator and serve as a refreshing beverage.

Benefits of this drink:

Two main ingredients bring a ton of nutrients with them: lemon and watermelon. Let's start with lemon. It is packed with vitamin C, which combats free radical damage that can lead to diseases and promotes youthful-looking skin.

Starting the morning with hot water and lemon is highly recommended, and that's because lemons kick starts the digestive system and stabilize your appetite so you won't overeat. This lemonade is excellent since you can sip a delicious drink and won't feel inclined to reach for the snacks as often. This is because lemons contain pectin, which helps to keep you fuller longer.

Although watermelon is higher on the glycemic index, it is lower on the glycemic load and is a great fruit to help ward off diabetes. When you consume watermelon, your kidneys convert an amino acid called L- citrulline into L-arginine. L-arginine helps in regulating blood glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Watermelon is also a great way to balance pH. Watermelon is an alkaline food; we should aim for 70% alkaline foods in our diet to help reduce acidity and create a reasonably balanced pH (7.4 is optimal pH). A more acidic body creates inflammation within and makes us more susceptible to illness and diseases.

Last but not least, watermelon helps to prevent heat exhaustion. So crucial this time of year! Everyone is enjoying soaking up the sun, but we must remember to stay hydrated! Watermelon is mainly made of water and provides electrolytes; both will help to reduce the risk of heatstroke.



Pineapple Green Tea Cooler

Attention all green tea lovers! This drink is a great way to reap the benefits of a cup of green tea while cooling off from a day in the sun. Green tea had a mild, earthy taste, but the pineapple juice balances it nicely by adding some natural sugar and a tropical feel. Sip this drink by a pool or on a lounge chair in your backyard and create a relaxing vacation without leaving town!

Ingredients:

  • Green tea

  • A whole pineapple

  • Ice

  • Mint

Instructions:

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add cold brewed green tea until the glass is 3/4 full. Fill the glass with pineapple juice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. (9 g carbohydrate)

**Recommended to make your pineapple juice by either juicing a whole pineapple or combining it with the green tea in the blender until smooth. A great way to ensure that only natural sugars are added to this drink.

Benefits of this drink:

One of the star attractions of this drink is the sweet and tangy pineapple. The natural sugars in this fruit will help to sweeten the beverage but not spike your blood sugar as much as adding refined sugar or pineapple juice from the grocery store. Pineapple is loaded with vitamin C and manganese, both essential for our immune systems and rich in B1, B6 and Folate. Getting adequate levels of B vitamins will help to maintain energy levels and stabilize mood.

If you're a Starbucks lover like myself, you'll be familiar with their iced green tea beverage that can you add flavour, lemonade and sweeten to your liking. This drink is the same, and you're in charge of adding in other flavours and sweeteners until it's just right. Green tea has younger tea leaves, meaning minimally processed and able to hold its phytonutrients better. Lightly caffeinated giving a nice steady energy boost without the jitters that those who are caffeine sensitive may experience. The phytonutrients in green tea contain many benefits, including stabilizing our metabolism, preventing cancer, producing a calming effect on the body due to the amino acid l-theanine and balancing blood sugar levels. The flavonoids, a type of phytonutrient in green tea, decrease the liver's glucose production. Therefore, the body can regulate blood sugar more efficiently and keep levels balanced.

One of the last ingredients, one of my favourites to add to a mocktail, is mint. There is something so refreshing about enjoying a drink with mint added to it. Some of the benefits of mint include possibly alleviating allergies and Hay Fever, crucial for many allergy sufferers around this time of year. Mint may also help with digestion, improving memory, relieving headaches and reducing stress. Life can be busy and filled with many stressors, so let's pour a glass of this delicious tea and unwind!


Strawberry Margarita Mocktail


It's margarita time! This drink is an absolute winner. It is simple to make and reminds me of a slushie but made with fresh ingredients; yum! I love a nice glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, making it a perfect addition to this recipe. The oranges combined with the strawberries make this mocktail sweet and citrusy with a slightly sour kick from the lime. Want to make a fun activity out of it? Head to your local farm and go strawberry picking! You'll be supporting local farmers and be more likely to find strawberries that are riper, juicer and flavourful.


Ingredients:

1lb strawberries, tops removed 100ml orange juice – preferably freshly squeezed. 60ml freshly squeezed lime juice 130ml sparkling water 1 Lime, for garnish demerara sugar or coloured sugar – for decoration (optional) 2-3 large handfuls Ice


Instructions:

First, squeeze your oranges to make the equivalent of 100ml of juice (about half a cup). Next, squeeze the limes in 60ml of liquid. Add the orange juice, strawberries, sparkling water, lime juice and ice to a blender. Mix until blended into a slushy consistency. Cut the lime into wedges for garnish. Optional, but salt or sugar-coat the rim of a margarita glass and pour the mixture into four glasses. Enjoy!

Benefits of this drink:

This classic drink favourite is homemade with natural ingredients, packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential for reducing free radicals, damaging our bodies because these toxins accumulate and create illness and diseases within us.

Oranges contain essential vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A (beta-carotene), potassium and even some calcium! Oranges help with collagen production, which helps with wound healing and skin cell repair for smoother, firmer, and youthful skin. They boost your immunity and help our bodies absorb the iron better when eaten with iron-rich foods.

Strawberries are an easy way to incorporate fibre into your diet. For one cup, there are 3 grams of fibre. We must get enough fibre within our diet to help with digestion, regularity, reducing cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar. Strawberries are also rich in folate; folate deficiency is a common contributor to anemia and is especially important for pregnant women to prevent birth defects.




There are many ways to enjoy your summer; whatever you choose to spend your time doing, make sure to stay hydrated, wear a hat and protect your skin from the sun's UV rays with a sunscreen of SPF 30. I hope you feel inspired to create more mocktail recipes or put a spin on these ones! These nutritious, refreshing and delicious drinks are a great addition to your summer.





References:

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McQuillan, Susan. 17 Mocktails: Drinks That Won't Send Your Blood Sugar Soaring. (2019, January 10). Retrieved from http://www.ontrackdiabetes.com/live-well/eat-well/17-mocktails-drinks-wont-send-you-blood-sugar-soaring/ Date accessed: July 22, 2021.

Meenakshi Nagdevelast updated - June 01, Nagdeve, M., & Nagdeve, A. T. (2021, June 01). 13 Impressive Benefits of Mint Leaves. Retrieved from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html/ Date accessed: July 25, 2021.

MichaelJessimyMedicalHealthFitnessAuthor. (2019, September 24). 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Pineapples. Retrieved from https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/ Date accessed: July 25, 2021.

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