Who doesn't love a poolside gathering with a few of your closest friends? The sun is warm, the water's cool and the music is light. Those cold beverages, however, can make swimsuit season a little less joyful. Be smart this season and switch out some of your favorite summertime libations for refreshing substitutes that complement that new bikini. Here are some healthy alternatives to some of the season's most popular potables.
Margarita on the Rocks - The traditional version of this popular cocktail contains tequila, triple sec and lime juice. It also tips the calorie scale at more than 50 calories an ounce. Instead, make your own diet limeade by mixing freshly squeezed lime juice, no-calorie sweetener and water. Soak some lime wedges in tequila and triple sec and use the fortified fruit to garnish your drink. Your sense of smell can easily fool your brain into thinking you're tasting something you're not. This way you get the aroma of the liquors with just a fraction of the calories.
Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri - One of the most popular frozen summertime drinks is the frozen daiquiri, and the strawberry version is the most popular of them all. At about 250 calories a pop, however, it won't take many to derail your healthy eating plan. For a lighter version, mix sugar-free strawberry powdered drink mix with half the amount of water called for in the instructions. Pour the mix into ice cube trays and freeze. Place the frozen strawberry cubes in a blender with 1 ounce of rum and 1/2 ounce of lime juice per serving. Blend until smooth and garnish with a fresh strawberry and mint leaf. This lighter version will only cost you about 68 calories per serving.
Gin and Tonic - Another summertime favorite is the gin and tonic. An easy way to cut the classic version from an alarming 171 calories down to about 64 is to reduce the gin from 1-1/2 ounces to 1 ounce, and use diet tonic water rather than the sugary version. Line the glass with thin slices of lime before filling to give it an extra luxurious summertime feel.
Iced Tea - Nothing says summer like a tall, refreshing glass of iced tea. The unsweetened version will cost you nothing, but when you start adding sugar, you can easily add 15 calories per teaspoon, as well as all the other unhealthy side effects of refined sugar. If you need something to sweeten the taste, try mixing in a couple of herbal tea bags like mango or orange with your regular black tea. They impart a natural sweetness and aroma that can substitute for a sugary sweetener altogether.
Lemonade - One of the favorite beverages at summertime ball games and fairs is freshly squeezed lemonade. The inherent sourness of lemons makes it next to impossible to drink an unsweetened version, however. Instead of refined white sugar, try using your favorite calorie-free sweetener. Lemon juice only contains about eight calories an ounce, so you'll get a lot of refreshment for next to no calories.
With just a few quick and easy swaps you can turn an unhealthy, calorie-ridden summertime drink into a refreshing, healthy libation that won't leave you feeling guilty or bloated.