Research continues to show us that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages puts us at higher risk for a number of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. These sweet drinks include not only soda, but also sports drinks, chai lattes, and sweetened coffee drinks that are often loaded with added sugar. Instead try these delicious no added sugar and very low sugar beverages:
1. Cucumber Water: Add cucumber slices to your water for a pleasing alternative to plain water. Tastes especially refreshing on a hot summer day.
2. Hot or Iced Green Tea: Drink green tea on its own or try a green tea variety blended with nettle and/or peppermint for extra antioxidant punch. If you want a small amount of sweetness, add a splash of 100% fruit juice or pureed fruit.
3. Sparkling Mineral water with a splash of 100% fruit juice: Add an antioxidant-rich juice, like tart cherry, pomegranate, or 100% cranberry juice, to plain or sparkling water.
4. Unsweetened Chai: Instead of ordering a chai latte, which can pack up to 34 g of sugar in a 12-oz. serving, try unsweetened chai tea (brewed with the tea bag or loose tea) and add your own milk or almond milk. If you need some sweetness, add a small amount of honey. A teaspoon of honey has 6 grams of sugar, far less than you’ll get in the pre-sweetened variety!
5. Water with lemon: Lemon gives water a gentle flavor and may aid in digestion. You can also add a slice of lemon to unsweetened iced tea.