Graduations, weddings, family barbecues — tempting as it may be to drink a cold beer or iced alcoholic drink at your gathering, AICR reminds that alcohol is linked to several kinds of cancer. Luckily, there are more healthy ways than ever to mix up festive, non-alcoholic beverages. Don’t forget the little paper umbrellas, kitchy cocktail napkins and Polynesian swizzle sticks!
- Start with a base such as club soda, sparkling spring water, sugar-free tonic water or lemonade. Other calorie-free bases could be green, herbal or fruit flavored teas.
- Use fresh fruits like melons, strawberries, citrus and tropical fruits. Create a healthy punch by chopping or pureeing fruits, and mixing them with your base.
- Although juice has lots of calories, a splash can provide color and flavor. Try adding a 1/4 cup of 100 percent juice (cherry, apricot, mango, apple, grape or another kind), then mixing with club soda or non-alcoholic base. A little sparkling apple cider works, too.
- Garnishes for each glass can be orange slices, fresh fruit wedges, berries and grapes on a skewer, or fresh mint sprigs.
- Or serve Virgin Maries using plenty of hot sauce and low-sodium vegetable or tomato juice with celery stalks to munch.
If you are hosting a get-together, provide a bar of ingredients so guests can enjoy mixing their own non-alcoholic drinks. You can also stock up on non-alcoholic beer and wine.
When you do indulge in alcohol, set limits. Drink plenty of water between sips of alcohol to dilute it and remain hydrated. In general, limit daily alcoholic beverages to 1 standard size drink for women and 2 for men.
(Women metabolize alcohol more slowly than men, so alcohol stays longer in a woman’s bloodstream. Liver disease and other alcohol-related problems develop faster in women than in men who drink the same amount, too.)
Cherry Citrus Spritzer
- 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen pitted cherries, thawed
- 2 cups orange juice
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 cups club soda
- 2 thin orange slices
In blender, purée cherries. In large pitcher, use long-handled wooden spoon to stir together cherries with juices. Place ice in 4 tall glasses. Pour citrus mixture over ice and add 1/2 cup club soda to each serving. Stir and garnish each glass with orange slice and swizzle sticks.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 128 calories, 0 g. fat (0 g. saturated fat), 32 g. carbohydrates, 2 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 26 mg. sodium.
Fruity Iced Tea
- 6 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp. whole cloves
- 6 black tea bags
- 3-4 cups apricot or peach nectar
- Sugar or honey, to taste (optional)
In large saucepan, simmer water, cinnamon stick and cloves 15 minutes, covered. Turn off heat. Add tea bags. Steep 2-5 minutes, depending on desired strength. Remove tea bags. Add apricot nectar. Add sugar or honey, if desired. Strain to remove spices. Refrigerate until cold.
Makes 9 servings.
Per serving: 59 calories, 0 g. total fat (0 g. saturated fat), 15 g. carbohydrates, <1 g. protein, 1 g. dietary fiber, 3 mg. sodium.
Minted Honeydew Cooler
- 3 cups cubed honeydew melon
- 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves
- Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 99 calories, 0 g. total fat (0 g. saturated fat), 25 g. carbohydrates, <1 g. protein, 1 g. dietary fiber, 25 mg. sodium.
Green Tea Slush with Apricot Nectar
- 3 cups prepared green tea (use decaffeinated if desired)
- 1 cup apricot nectar
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 1 Tbsp. honey
In blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and purée until smooth.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 51 calories, 0 g. total fat (0 g. saturated fat), 13 g. carbohydrates, 0 g. protein, <1 g. dietary fiber, 2 mg. sodium.
Frosty Fruit Freeze
- 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange sections in light syrup
- 2 cups cubed honeydew melon
- 2 decaffeinated green tea bags
- 1 herbal mint tea bag
- 4 sprigs of fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
Place oranges with their liquid into resealable plastic bag and freeze, laying the bag flat. Spread melon cubes in single layer on baking sheet and freeze. If not using within 12 hours, transfer frozen melon to resealable plastic bag.
Place green and mint tea bags in heatproof container. Pour in 2 cups boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing to release excess tea into container. Refrigerate tea until cold.
Pour chilled tea into blender. Break up frozen oranges into chunks and add. Purée mixture. Add frozen melon and blend into fine slush. Divide among 4 glasses, garnish with mint if using and serve.
Per serving: 60 calories, 0 g. total fat (0 g. saturated fat), 15 g. carbohydrate, <1 g. protein, 1 g. dietary fiber, 19 mg. sodium.
Vegetable Juice Crush
- 1 cup ice
- 2 cups reduced-sodium tomato or vegetable juice
- 3/4 cup tomato puree
- 1/2 peeled avocado
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
- 2 celery stalks, stems trimmed
- 4 strips green bell pepper
- Dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)
Place first five ingredients in blender and combine until ice is crushed. Pour into two tall glasses. Add celery stalk and green pepper strips to each glass. Add hot pepper sauce if desired and stir with celery before drinking.
Makes 2 servings.
Per serving: 173 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 8 g dietary fiber, 232 mg sodium.