With the new year upon us, we all start thinking of our new years resolutions and plans for new healthy eating. Soda has been a major vice for me for years and although it offers no real nutrition or benefits,I find myself craving the bubbly taste of soda.
Diet soda my drink of choice tends to be on the forefront of unhealthy concerns with the use of sugar substitutes like Splenda and Aspartame. Many believe these can cause many health issues like a rise in blood sugar levels and even weight gain with conjunction to chemicals from these sweeteners.
My goal for the new year is to cut back on my three or four diet coke a day habit and replace it with water and other healthy choices. So the quest began for healthy low calorie options to go alongside water. I have never been a huge fan of water although ice cold water from a cooler is pretty much the only way I can drink it plain.
About a year ago a friend introduced me to sparkling water. She had me take sparkling water and add a lemon and lime to it. This came out delicious and tasting very similar to Sprite. I loved it and began making this on a regular basis and gave up soda of any kind completely for about two months. I have since gone back to my diet coke drinking but decided to research and find other recipes for diet coke and soda alternatives. Below you will see the new recipes and products I have found, as healthy choices to incorporate into your diet.
Sparkling water is water with carbon dioxide this helps to provide the bubbles to the water. Sparkling water can be added with either fresh lemons and limes or even lemon juice from the bottle. You can adjust it to taste or try one of the recipes below.
Lemon Basil Sparkling Water:
1 bunch basil (save a few sprigs of basil for garnish)
2 25 oz. bottles chilled sparkling water (you may substitute with drinking water)
Rinse the basil, set a few sprigs aside for garnish, put the rest into a large pitcher or glass container. Take a wooden spoon and crush some of the basil leaves gently against the side of the container. Cut 2 of the lemons into 1/8 inth slices and place in the container with the basil. Pour the sparkling water into the container with the basil and lemon. Juice the remaining lemon and pour into the water. Stir and serve over ice, garnish drinks with a sprig of basil. Approximately 8 servings.
Sparkling Ginger Lemonade Recipe
2 cups water
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
2 cups club soda, chilled
1 cup lemon juice
In a small saucepan, bring the water, honey and ginger to a boil. Remove from the heat; cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding ginger. Cool. Transfer to a pitcher; stir in soda and lemon juice. Serve immediately over ice. Yield: 5 servings.
Fresh fruit coolers
1/2 cup of ice
3/4 cup of sugar-free sparkling water
1/3 cup of melon or berries
Chopped mint leaves or citrus slices (optional)
Place ice, sparkling water, and fruit in a blender. Blend until slushy, pour into a glass and garnish with mint or citrus slices. Serves 1.
Sparkling Raspberry-Cranberry Punch
1 qt. (4 cups) cold water
1 pkt.(makes 2 qt. drink) or 2 pkt. (makes 1 qt. drink each) CRYSTAL LIGHT Raspberry Ice Flavor Drink Mix*
1 bottle (48 oz.) reduced-calorie cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1 bottle (1 L) raspberry-flavored seltzer, chilled
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen raspberries, thawed, undrained
ADD water to drink mix in large plastic or glass pitcher; stir until mix is dissolved. REFRIGERATE until ready to serve.
POUR prepared drink into punch bowl just before serving. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve over ice.
*NOTE: CRYSTAL LIGHT Packets come in two sizes. Please note packet size before preparing recipe.