These humid, hot Texas summer days have all of us wanting to don Camelbacks or hydration belts before we go outside — even if it’s just to get the mail.
And while it’s so tempting to order that super-size, 96 oz. soda or chug down a “healthy” sports drink, both contain thirst-robbing levels of sugar and aren’t built to deal with the thirst that accompanies Texas summer heat. You need hydration that penetrates deep within. Something that can replace lost electrolytes and potassium that you sweat out on your morning run or when you temporarily lose your car in the grocery store parking lot.
Here are a few healthy hydrators we have found, tried and love for their amazing health benefits. They’re so tasty and good, you might end up adding a couple of them to your own Camelbacks or hydration belts!
Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea with Berry Cubes
Why we love this: lemons, ginger, white tea, berries
Just saying those four words in a row make you feel cooler and healthier. Drink this and gain a nice dose of vitamin C and reap the benefits of its antioxidant riches – the kind that fight off harmful free radicals and inflammation, plus a host of other malades.
1 cup (4 ounces) raspberries, rinsed
Water for ice cube trays, plus 8 cups water, divided
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped fresh ginger
6 white tea bags
3 lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Place about 4 raspberries in each compartment of an ice cube tray, 6 hours before serving iced tea. Fill with water and freeze.
Place honey, 2 cups water and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let mixture steep for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, then strain out solids.
In a pitcher combine strained liquid with 6 cups water and lemon juice. Chill in refrigerator
To serve, place 3 ice cubes in a tall glass and pour iced tea over cubes. Garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs.
Why we are loving this: it makes us feel like we’re in the Caymans after a session at Bikram…ahhhhh
Loco for coco-nut water? This “it” drink with the exercise set has long been touted as “Mother Nature’s sports drink” for its naturally occurring electrolytes, higher potassium levels, and for being naturally lower in sugar. And even though there a recent NY Times article debunks this popular water as being no healthier than regular tap, it’s mildly sweet, nutty flavor is just the ticket for those looking for something more on the tropical side than plain ‘ol H2O to recharge.
Dark Chocolate Mocha Shake
Why we are loving this: cacao and cinnamon
Because sometimes you just gotta have a shake in the summer, make it a dark chocolate (containgin at least 70% cacao) one. That way you won’t suffer post-intake guilt because 1) the cacao is a disease-killing bean packed with flavonoids and theobromine and 2) dark chocolate also happens to suppress appetites – which is awesome! This recipe also calls for a dash of cinnamon – another favorite healing spice of ours.
Toss a few squares of 70% or higher dark chocolate in a blender along with fat-free plain Greek yogurt, some brewed coffee, crushed high-fiber cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and some ice. You’ll be full of stomach and energy for hours!
We’re loving this because: Water content – a hydrated circulatory system is a happy, healthy, functioning properly circulatory system.
Watermelon is 91% water, making it one of the coolest, most refreshing, naturally hydrating foods out there. With its sweet taste (and fun seeds for hours of spitting fun), this unofficial fruit of summer’s remaining 9% is made up of nutrients, including the antioxidant lycopene – a well-known cancer cell fighter. Double bonus — drinking this is also easy on the waistline.
Blend a cup of chopped watermelon with skim milk, almond milk or soymilk and some ice cubes.
MYO (Make Your Own) Fruit-infused H20
Why we’re loving this: it’s cheaper, healthier and contains no artificial ingredients compared with store-bought infused waters.
We found a great link to not one, not two, but 25 fresh fruit ways to beat summer belly bloat, stay hydrated and keep your legs and veins happy on Prevention.com. These 25 recipes are a nice range of fruit mixed with an eclectic assortment of spicy, sublime, hot, minty and cooling herbs and spices. You just might not want plain tap water again!
Here’s the Strawberry Basil Blast, in case you need enticing
Scrunch 8 fresh basil leaves to release their flavor. Combine them with 3 cups halved strawberries, and gently muddle with a wooden spoon or spatula.
And for when it’s 5 o’clock somewhere…
We love this because: strawberries, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and coconut rum – just because it’s so yummy
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries , (about 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups ice cubes
3/4 cup coconut-flavored rum, such as Malibu (see Variation, above)
Hint: To keep it cool in warmer weather, freeze fresh berries for 30 minutes before blending. Variation: For a nonalcoholic version, omit the rum and add 1/2 cup additional strawberries.
Combine strawberries, sugar and lime juice ogether in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and rum and blend until frothy. Transfer to pitcher and serve to your crowd’s delight!