Summer Drinks: 6 Refreshing, Healthy Beverages (cont.)

Cool Summer Drink No. 3: Iced Green or Black Tea

Look for noncaffeinated versions if you drink tea throughout the day. Lots of flavor options await you at most grocery stores and specialty markets. If you insist on sweetening your tea, use the least amount of sweetener your tastes will tolerate.

Cool Summer Drink No. 4: Iced Coffee

Millions of Starbucks customers have already figured out how to have their coffee and stay cool, too -- iced coffee! The lowest-calorie way to go is to drink it black, or add a splash or two of low- fat milk or a flavored, fat-free creamer. And you can make it even healthier by choosing decaf.

The Iced Caffe Americano from Starbucks is espresso mixed with cold filtered water and ice, and it has just 15 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrate. If you go the iced latte route, Starbucks' tall Iced Caffe Latte with nonfat milk adds up to 90 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrate (from the nonfat milk).

It's easy to make iced coffee at home, too. Just brew a batch of coffee in the morning or the night before, chill it in the refrigerator, and it will be ready to hit the ice by high noon.

Here's my simple method: To a large glass, add 1 1/4 cups iced coffee, 1/2 cup low-fat milk, and one packet Splenda Flavor Blends for Coffee, such as hazelnut (about 1/2 teaspoon). Stir, then add at least 1 cup of ice cubes or crushed ice.

For an even more flavorful twist on iced coffee, see my Raspberry Mocha Freeze recipe below.

Cool Summer Drink No. 5: Fruit Spritzer

Don't let the word, "spritzer" throw you. Basically, this is just a half-water, half-fruit juice mixture. The fruit juice adds flavor, some nutrients (including the electrolytes sodium and potassium), an appetizing color, and even a small amount of fiber if you use a nonfiltered fruit juice.

The best juices for spritzers, in my experience, are cranberry or pomegranate juice (100% natural), freshly squeezed orange juice, peach juice, and mango juice.

Make a spritzer by pouring 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of club soda, seltzer water, or mineral water with bubbles into a glass. Add 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of your desired fruit juice and stir in plenty of ice.

If you make this using fresh orange juice and club soda, an 8-ounce glass will total: 51 calories, 12 grams carbohydrate, 0.3 gram fiber, 25 mg sodium, 229 mg potassium, and 57 mg vitamin C.

Cool Summer Drink No. 6: Homemade Raspberry Mocha Freeze

One of the new drinks on the summer menu at a certain coffee chain is iced Raspberry Mocha. Here's an easy and light way to make it at home. Each serving contains 115 mg calcium.

1 cup strong or regular iced coffee -- depending on your preference (use decaf, if desired)
3/4 cup low-fat or skim milk or fat-free half-and-half
3/4 teaspoon raspberry extract
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (reduced-sugar or sugar-free if desired)
2 cups crushed ice

Add all ingredients to blender and mix until blended and slushy.

Yield: 2 servings

Per serving (with regular chocolate syrup): 79 calories, 4 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 0.3 g fiber, 64 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 12%.

Recipes provided by Elaine Magee; © 2007 Elaine Magee

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

Published July 27, 2007.


SOURCES: Saldana, T.M. et al., Epidemiology, July 2007; 18(4): 501-506. WebMD Medical News: "1 Daily Soda May Boost Heart Disease." Anthony Starpoli, MD, attending physician in gastroenterology, St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, New York, and Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City.

©2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.