If you choose no calorie alternatives to treats whenever possible thinking, “Hey, no calories = no increase to me bum!” then you, like me, are quite freaked out about the recent studies shedding some murderous light on diet soda. This isn’t the first time diet soda has gotten a bad rap, with some inconclusive brain tumor studies occurring a decade or so ago as well.
Whether or not the evidence is solid enough to prove that diet soda or diet anything with those miracle sweeteners is harmful to your health, I’ve decided to steer clear. It was too good to be true anyway, and usually if it’s too good to be true, it ain’t good.
So, I’ve been experimenting with some low-calorie, energy-boosting liquid treats to replace soda. Obviously there’s water, but sometimes you just need that kick in the pants from the caffeine and/or bubbles to get you going again in the afternoon. So, here’s what I’ve come up with so far (let me know if you have ideas, too!)
Kickin’ Iced Tea
I’ve never been an iced tea fan. Unsweetened, it’s bitter and awful. Sweetened, it’s sugary and awful for you. I’ve always enjoyed hot tea with honey so didn’t quite understand why I couldn’t find a way to like this natural, refreshing and caffeinated summer alternative. Then I realized something quite simple, and simply great: Why not make iced tea with honey? So here’s my recipe, with a few twists to make it delish and a kick-in-the-pants dose of natural caffeine for your afternoon refreshment.
- 2 tea bags per cup of hot water (that extra strong flavor gives it the kick you need to keep from passing out on your keyboard at 3PM).
- Steep in a tea pot/kettle for 20 minutes until pitch black.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of honey per cup of hot water into a glass pitcher. (Locally-grown seasonal honey tastes better, and I hear it can help keep outdoor allergies at bay among other benefits! Also – did you know that honey doesn’t spike your blood sugar like refined sugar does?)
- Pour tea into pitcher, stirring with a long wooden spoon to mix in honey.
- DO NOT ADD ICE! It will ruin that strong sweet taste. Put it in the fridge overnight.
- Bring to work in a thermos and take shots as needed to stay awake.
When you just need some low-cal bubbles but don’t want to subject yourself to the deadly wrath of aspartame, head to your nearest soda fountain-bearing food service establishment and mix up this simple cocktail. It’s got a little sugar but not enough to pack on the pounds or even spike your blood sugar.
- Fill your cup halfway with lemonade
- Fill the remaining half with soda water
It’s that simple, but people just don’t think to do it and reach for the aspartame instead, so it’s worth a mention.