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FOODWISE: Stay hydrated, don’t overdo the sugar

Raspberry Hibiscus Kombucha has only four grams of sugar per bottle.
Raspberry Hibiscus Kombucha has only four grams of sugar per bottle. - Contributed

We have had a mixed bag of weather so far this summer – from a bit chilly, to downright hot. Although it is important to stay hydrated any time of the year, in the summer it becomes especially so, as people are more active outdoors in the sun, wind and heat.
But what if drinking plain water is just too... boring? There are lots of options and products these days that can quench thirst, but when so many of them pack a huge sugar punch, it’s important to navigate the options to make a flavourful, healthy choice.
When looking for something to drink in the grocery store aisles, be sure to look for products with little to no sugar in them. There are a wide variety of flavoured waters on the market now, which are naturally flavoured and have no sugars or sweeteners at all. Some of these are even carbonated to add another layer of excitement. Look to choose those that state they are “naturally flavoured.”
Also, be aware of flavoured water products that are coloured, and that boast “no artificial sweeteners” on the product label – as these will often actually have other types of sweeteners in them. As with any new product you are picking up at the grocery store, always be sure to check the nutrition facts label before you make your selection. 
Looking for something that’s more than just hydrating? Kombucha is a refreshing, fermented tea drink that can have many benefits due to its richness in probiotics. Probiotics may help those who have gut issues due to taking antibiotics or who have symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s or colitis. There are many brands of kombucha out there, some of which are highly sweetened, so be sure to look for the lowest sugar options. To help with visualizing what the numbers mean, four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon. PC Organics has several new flavours of kombucha drinks this summer including raspberry hibiscus kombucha, which has only four g of sugar per bottle. Look for kombucha in the natural value section of your local store.
When you are at home in your kitchen, there are so many options for yummy summer drinks. Try infusing different fruits and flavours into water – have fun with it! Some ideas include: strawberries, lemon and basil, watermelon and mint, lemon and lime, or the classics such as cucumber or lemon on their own. Make a juice spritzer with a small amount of 100-per-cent juice (30ml) in one cup of sparking water or make juice ice cubes to add to your water or sparkling water. Thinking of the day ahead or planning for guests, try this homemade iced tea recipe. As in any recipe, start with less sugar and add to taste instead of using the pre-set amount. 

Iced Ginger Peach & Mint Tea

4 bags          PC Herbal Tea - Ginger Peach
8 slices          fresh ginger root (peel on)
1/2 cup (125 mL)      loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup (75 mL)      granulated sugar
6 cups (1.5 L)      water

1.    Place tea, ginger, mint and sugar in heatproof container. Bring water to a boil; pour over tea mixture. Allow tea to steep for 10 minutes.
2.    Strain into large serving pitcher. Chill for 3 hours or overnight. Serve in tall glasses over ice, garnished with additional mint if desired.
 
Makes 6 servings 
 
Per Serving:   Calories 50 Cal, Fat 0 g, Sodium 5 mg, Carbohydrate 12 g, Fibre 0 g, Protein 0g    
 
Recipe source: pc.ca

Do you have a nutrition health goal in mind? The Atlantic Superstore dietitian team can coach you to success! Set up a personalized appointment at bookadietitian.ca or email us for more information at dietitian@loblaw.ca. Dietitian services are also available for schools, business and community groups!

Terry Daley is a registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow.

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