Healthiest Summer Drinks

Long, hot summer days and warm summer nights call out for refreshing drinks. Summer opens up a new world of cold drinks, but not all of them are great for you (more on that next week). Today, check out the best summer drinks for your health.

Iced tea: You’ve heard that tea is a healthy beverage (many varieties have antioxidants, which help ward off disease), and iced tea is no exception. Try iced green, mint and hibiscus teas for extra health benefits, and make it yourself or buy it from a coffee shop — the antioxidants in those bottled varieties are less than those in freshly brewed, plus the bottled kind has tons of added sugar.

White sangria: This wine-based drink gives you an added bonus of fruit, which puts it into my list of healthiest beverages. Look for a recipe with lots of fruit and no added sugar. Chuck Hughes’ White Sangria fits the bill.

Iced coffee: Coffee has a lot of disease-fighting antioxidants. Regular coffee drinkers are less likely to have diabetes, and they have a lower risk of certain cancers. For the smoothest-tasting iced coffee with a little less caffeine than the hot kind, try making Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee.

Smoothies (homemade): Your kitchen is the best place to whip up a refreshing, nutrient-dense smoothie. You can control the ingredients and amounts, making the healthiest smoothie around. Think about adding vegetables — spinach or cucumber can work — as well as fruit. Tie it together with a liquid that’s also healthful (low-fat milk for calcium and protein, unsweetened almond milk if you’re looking to keep calories down, or you can even use green tea, as in Kelsey Nixon’s Mean Green Smoothie.

Fruit spritzers: Fruit spritzers are a way-healthier alternative to soda. Simply combine your favorite juice with an equal or greater amount of seltzer. Fizzy. Fruity. Delicious.

The Donatella Cocktail: This vodka-based cocktail from Donatella Arpaia is garnished with cucumbers and cherry tomato, and it gets a little vitamin C from the lemon juice. Try it! (pictured)

BeeSting: Instead of a shandy — the beer drink that’s mixed with lemonade — try Bobby Flay's BeeSting. This recipe combines dark beer with o.j., giving you a splash of vitamin C with no added sugars.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutrition coach who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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