Sticking to a healthy diet is a challenge when grabbing drinks with friends or hosting a party. You may have spent the afternoon burning calories in a new rowing class, but your efforts could go to waste if you spend the evening sipping on a tall strawberry daiquiri. A pre-made pouch can run as high as 280 (empty!) calories per serving. How can you infuse your drinks with nutrients?
With the warm weather finally arriving, citrus cocktails become more appealing. The good news is, as long as you’re willing to step up your bartending game, you can still indulge in delicious, and relatively healthy summer drinks. Instead of prepackaged beverages loaded with extra sugar, sodium, and preservatives, you can make your own cocktails at home for a fraction of the price and calories – leaving the pouches for the kids’ juice.
To get started, head to your local farmers’ market to take advantage of the variety of fruits in season, such as strawberries and blueberries. The produce at farmers’ markets is usually fresher, less expensive, and shopping there helps support the local community!
Here’s a simple cocktail:
1 cup fresh blueberries
3-5 sprigs of fresh mint
¼ cup ice
1 oz melted dark chocolate
1 oz or more vodka (Depending on your taste!)
This makes a single serving. Make the juice yourself by blending the whole fruit. You’ll avoid the additional preservatives and loads of added sugar that are found in juices from concentrate, while gaining the antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber found in whole fruit. If you want your drink to be a little sweeter, use honey or make your own simple syrup by bringing equal parts water and sugar to a low boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. After letting it cool, you can add small amounts to any mixed drink. Best of all: you can control the amount yourself, making it easy to keep the calorie count low. Before pouring into a cocktail glass, melt the chocolate in a microwaveable-safe bowl and dip the rim of the glass in the chocolate.
If you want to try something a little different, fresh fruit smoothies are the perfect drink solution, especially when you’re hosting a get-together for kids and adults. You can whip up a fruity concoction without alcohol first, and pour a serving or two for the kids. Using the remainder, add a splash of alcohol and blend with a little more ice for a drink fit for yourself and the rest of the adults. Isolate the kids’ servings by giving them different cups to drink out of, or if possible, use different blenders for the different types of smoothies.
For an even better treat for little ones: Make a batch of non-alcoholic smoothies and pour them into Popsicle molds for a few hours. The kids can enjoy a healthy snack later, and you can use the same prepared fruits and ingredients to make the adults’ drinks.
You don’t have to give up on your diet for a refreshing summer cocktail. With a little work, you can sip on a freshly made cocktail and relax. Feel good about making healthier decisions for you and your family.