5 Summer Cocktails That Are Actually Good For You

In the summertime, healthy and hydrated go hand-in-hand. There are more fresh fruits and vegetables readily available, and our diets naturally improve during the summer months because it’s easier to make healthy choices. We also increase our water intake to counteract the heat of the sun. But at the end of a long day — or while relaxing on vacation — we may want something more than plain water to sip on while sitting on the deck or hanging out by the pool. Can we hydrate and be healthy while enjoying a summer cocktail? Of course we can! Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables in our summer cocktails is not only refreshing, but it cuts calories and provides nutrition our bodies need. Use this list to get creative with your summer cocktails, and enjoy delicious health benefits at the same time. I’ll drink to that!

Cocktails

#1 Sangria
Sangria, a cocktail from Spain and Portugal, is refreshing and can be a smart option this summer if you’re careful about what you’re adding to the pitcher. Using red wine as your base provides antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease. Opt out of the simple syrup and replace it with a flavored sparkling water that has no added sugar. Add plenty of fresh fruit to boost your Vitamin C and fiber.

#2 Spiked Lemonade and Limeade
Spiked or not, lemonades and limeades are the go-to beverage of the summer. Make it an adult version by adding a splash of vodka to your glass. To cut calories, sweeten your lemonade or limeades with agave nectar instead of table sugar or simple syrup. Don’t be afraid to mix new flavors with this drink. Cucumber and mint in lemonade and cherries in limeade are winning combinations.

#3 Wine Spritzer
Some people love nothing more than a glass of perfectly chilled white wine in the heat of summer. Lighten this cocktail by pouring a half glass of wine and filling the rest with club soda or sparkling water. Depending on the type of white wine, several slices of fresh peaches or strawberries make the perfect healthy garnish for this beverage.

#4 Garden Fresh Bloody Mary
Use tomatoes from your local farmer’s market as the base, instead of premade mixes that are loaded with sodium. To boost the flavor in your Bloody Mary, try adding jalapenos to the tomato puree. These spicy peppers not only add flavor, but the heat will encourage you to savor your beverage instead of gulping it.

#5 Lighter Classics
Piña coladas and margaritas may be your favorite summer cocktails, but it can be hard to enjoy one when you know the calorie count. On average, piña coladas have 378 calories and margaritas have 280 calories. But you can still enjoy the flavors of your favorites if you alter the ingredients and avoid high calorie mixers. When making a piña colada, use light cream of coconut instead of the full-fat one, and only use about a tablespoon, replacing the rest with sparkling water. Get back to basics with a classic margarita. Fresh lime, triple sec and tequila are all you need instead of those sickly sweet margarita mixes. For some flair, try adding different fresh fruits or vegetables to find your personal margarita flavor.

Wanting to look and feel our best while enjoying an adult beverage is possible. Take advantage of the summer bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to not only make healthier summer cocktails to sip, but to also inspire a new favorite that shows off your creative side. Drink to your health and remember…. it’s five o’clock somewhere! Cheers!

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Resources:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/summer_drinks

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/best-sangria-recipe

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