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Summer Sipping: Cold Treats for Hot Days

Red wine, smoothies, and iced treats are healthy summer drinks, especially when fruit is in the recipe.

Frozen Feels Good

All things frozen are welcome on hot, humid days.

 

Fruit slushes are nice. Just put ice cubes and fruit in a blender or ice-shaving machine, Barrett explains. Virtually any fruit works: watermelon, cantaloupe, lemons, or limes. As you blend, add sweetener gradually. Taste frequently. You may find you don't need much sugar. Less is best.

 

Fruit juice Popsicles and ice cubes are also popular: Pour 100% fruit juice into a fun-shaped Popsicle or ice cube mold. What could be easier?

 

Or give that ice-cream maker a workout. Experiment with making fruit sherbets.

Improvise With Smoothies

Smoothies are a perfect all-around summer drink -- cold and loaded with nutrients. What exactly is a smoothie? It's blended liquid and fruit, explains Magee. The liquid base can be either milky or juicy; the fruit can be fresh or frozen. Some people add protein to create a meal.

 

"I tell people, throw in fruit you've never tried before," says Barrett. Papayas, mangos, kiwis, peaches, or cherries -- all the berries -- work in smoothies. "Just try it," she says. "Throw in some strawberries, too --  something you're familiar with."

 

At smoothie bars, sherbet, nonfat frozen yogurt, or low-fat vanilla ice cream typically serves as the base, Magee tells WebMD. All of these contain sugar, so there's no need to add any.

 

She advises using 1/2 cup of the base per serving. "Otherwise, you're cranking up the sugar calories pretty fast," she says. Regular yogurt is another option for a base. "It's creamy, but not quite as good-tasting in a smoothie."

 

The base determines the smoothie's flavor. Light vanilla ice cream is often her choice because calories are low -- about 110 -- and it contains nearly 4 grams of fat. "You need some fat, so the smoothie is satisfying, and a balance of nutrients, so it gets metabolized over time." If you have diabetes, nonfat frozen yogurt with no sugar added is best, Magee explains.

 

Chocolate syrup or cocoa is a nice touch. "If you want health benefits -- without extra fat and sugar -- choose cocoa. Nonfat frozen yogurt would work well with cocoa," Magee tells WebMD.

 

Cocoa is actually quite healthy in other ways, studies show. Like dark chocolate, cocoa contains lots of epicatechin, a particularly active type of flavonoid -- which keeps cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels, reduces the risk of blood clots, and slows down the immune responses that lead to clogged arteries.

 

As for fruit choices, "they are limitless, and it's creative to experiment," Magee says. "At the market, I never know what's going to look good. I stay open to what is available. Plus, I always have frozen berries on hand. I don't really like bananas, but I like them in a smoothie. A banana adds sweetness and thickening to a smoothie."

 

Magee won't use protein powders. "When you add powders, it can change the texture quite a bit. I'm more inclined to add true food. I add soft tofu or soy milk instead of soy powder." Regular low-fat milk or egg substitute(not raw eggs) also add protein.

 

Soy nut butter tastes somewhat like regular peanut butter and is a good source of protein, she says. "A child won't likely notice the difference -- if you blend half soy butter and half regular peanut butter. It's pretty thick but if you have a good blender, you should do fine."

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