07/20/2013 07:52 EDT | Updated 09/19/2013 05:12 EDT

5 Healthy and Refreshing Summer Drink Alternatives

Hot summer days beg for cool, refreshing drinks. They go hand in hand. It's vital that you are properly hydrated when the sun is beaming. Sometimes you might not even realize you are thirsty until a big glass pitcher filled with water and lemon is put in front of you.

Typically, people don't choose water to quench their thirst. Instead they reach for beverages like juices, sodas, or lattes that are highly sugared, empty-calorie drinks. Not only do these drinks cause people to gain weight and put them at a higher risk for diabetes, but they are also filled with ingredients like phosphoric acid, high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame that cause bone weakening, heart disease or cancer.

Now if after reading this, you are still thinking "but water is boring," then it's time for you to get a hold of just a few simple ingredients to make your own homemade summer refreshments that you can sip on with a smile.

Items to avoid and how to shake things up!

-Iced Tea: skip the sweetened iced teas that come in cans and bottles and make your own natural brew. Choose to steep your favourite herbal tea and chill it instead. Once chilled to perfection, add any or all of mint, lemon, honey and ginger, for an additional refreshing taste.

-Natural Flavours: Avoid this at all costs and flavour your own drinks with real flavours from fruit. Fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes or even berries can be added to water offer an honest, yet purifying taste. You can even put this into your water bottle for when you are on the go.

-Colours: Whether from sports drinks or fruit juices, they are full of artificial dyes and other preservatives. Instead choose drinks that are 100 per cent natural from fruit or use your own fruit purees!

-Fizzy Beverages such as sodas: Not only are they filled with calories and syrups, but also they can actually dehydrate you. Choose filtered, flat or spring water instead and add in mint or ginger for something refreshing and different. You can even go fermented and try Kombucha.

-Added sugars (such as glucose, fructose, corn syrup), which just means empty calories: Drinking sugar can lead to tooth decay, weight gain or other imbalances in the body. Don't drink your calories, eat them! Use natural sweeteners if necessary such as honey, maple syrup, Stevia or add in some berries for sweetness. Coconut water is also a hydrating option, which is natural sweet and extremely refreshing.

-Cream or milk based beverages: These are loaded with fat and often lots of sugar. If you are feeling like something thick and creamy try using coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk. All of which can all hit the spot whether in a power packed smoothie or homemade iced latte.

These summer drink alternatives are refreshing, easy to make and can be kept in your fridge for a quick refreshing and hydrating treat.

How to Make your own Pink Ginger Lemonade


2 tbsp fresh raspberries or strawberries

2 cups water

½ tsp ginger, minced

1 lemon freshly squeezed

Pinch sea salt

1 tbsp raw honey


1. Soak berries for 4-8 hours in 2 cups of pure or filtered water (with ginger)

2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth

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