When the summer heat is scorching, reach for yummy and refreshing summer drinks to keep you cool. But, before you quench your thirst with a sweetened lemonade or poolside margarita (because, let’s be honest, how good does that sound), consider what ingredients are in your cup! If the answer is sugar coupled with alcohol, summer may not taste so sweet when you wake up dehydrated with a head-throbbing headache.
But, not to worry, we won’t rob you of your summer fun! There are plenty of ways to satisfy all your (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) summer cravings with simple healthy swaps.
Here are the nine best refreshing summer drink recipes to keep on hand all season long. With these healthy summer drinks, sip your way through summer and feel good while doing it.
9 Light & Healthy Summer Drinks
#1 Iced Matcha Latte
Start your summer morning routine with a refreshing iced matcha latte! Matcha is full of antioxidants and nutrients like ECGC, chlorophyll, and vitamin C, making this refreshing summer beverage one of the healthiest ways to fuel up.
Plus, the amino acid L-theanine found in matcha promotes slow and study energy without a mid-day crash.
To make a matcha latte, simply whisk 1 teaspoon of matcha with a splash of hot water. Combine the mixture with 1 cup of dairy-free milk (like coconut or oat milk) and an optional sweetener of choice. Serve over ice.
#2 Watermelon Cucumber Cooler
Watermelon and cucumber are two of the most hydrating foods, containing 90-95% water! When combined together, these ingredients create a healthy summer drink that is both refreshing and subtly sweet.
- 2-3 cups watermelon, cubed
- 1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2-3 mint leaves, chopped (optional)
Step #1: Add all ingredients to a blender.
Step #2: Blend until smooth.
Step #3: Pour and serve over ice with a slice of lime.
#3 DIY Sparkling Lemonade
This healthy twist on traditional lemonade may be low in sugar, but it’s certainly not low in flavor! Swap sugary store-bought lemonade and create your own healthy summer beverage.
Mix equal parts sparkling water such as lemon-flavored Lacroix (or a low-sugar sparkling beverage like Olipop) with water. Stir in a splash of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, a handful of ice, and (if necessary) a dash of natural sweetener (such as raw honey or maple syrup).
#4 Lemon Iced Tea
Did you know store-bought iced tea can contain upwards of 50 grams of added sugar per serving? That’s right, more than a day’s worth of sugar with just a few sips.
Avoid the blood sugar spike (and highly processed ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup) by brewing up a homemade glass.
Simply brew a cup of black tea and refrigerate until chilled. Add a splash of lemon juice and a teaspoon of sweetener such as raw honey, maple syrup, or monk fruit. Serve over ice, and enjoy!
#5 Summer Berry Spritzer
Skip the prosecco and enjoy a booze-free sparkling spritzer. This healthy summer drink is low-cal, refreshing, and made with just a few ingredients.
- 2 cups seltzer or soda water
- 1 cup fresh mixed berries, chopped (if frozen, thaw berries until soft)
- ½ cup kombucha or coconut water (or ¼ cup cold-pressed juice such as orange, lime, or lemon)
- 1 tsp sweetener of choice (optional)
Step #1: Add chopped (or thawed) berries to the base of a large serving glass.
Step #2: Mix in ½ cup kombucha, coconut water, or fresh juice. Stir until well combined.
Step #3: Top with sparkling water and stir in (optional) sweetener of choice.
Step #4: Pour and serve over ice!
#6 Sugar (& Alcohol) Free Sangria
While fruit-filled Sangria may taste refreshing and healthy, it’s often full of added sugar. In addition to wine and liqueur, sneaky ingredients like processed fruit juice, simple syrup, and plain old sugar are often added to sangria, making this beverage high in calories and sugar.
Skip the not-so-healthy ingredients by making your own. This recipe is 100% naturally sweetened and made with simple, nutritious ingredients!
Want to make this alcohol-free sangria into a boozy beverage? Simply swap the liquid with (low-sugar) red wine.
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 cup pure grapefruit or orange juice
- 1 cup seltzer or sparkling water beverage
- 2 cups berries
- ½ cup pomegranate (or fruit of choice)
- ½ cup oranges or pineapple, chopped
- 1 large lime (or lemon), juiced
- 1 tsp sweetener of choice (such as honey), optional
Step #1: Add all ingredients to a large pitcher.
Step #2: Stir until well combined.
Step #3: Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, letting flavors develop together.
Step #4: Pour and serve with a slice of lime!
#7 Refreshing Summer Green Juice
We couldn’t talk about healthy summer drinks without mentioning green juice! Keep it low-sugar by avoiding fruit — juice mostly veggies (such as cucumber, celery, and spinach)! These hydrating foods are low-cal, low-sugar, and full of nutrients.
To give your juice a zesty (metabolism-boosting) kick, add juiced lemon or lime, ginger, and a dash of cayenne pepper.
#8 Pineapple Turmeric Tonic
Speaking of healthy summer drinks that speed your metabolism (thanks to the anti-inflammatory nutrients), try this pineapple turmeric tonic. Sip it as a shot, or make it into a healthy summer drink by serving over ice with a splash of seltzer or coconut water.
With healthy summer drinks this simple, you’ll never go back to store-bought!
- 2 cups pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 2 (1-inch) pieces ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 (1-inch) pieces turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 lime (or lemon), peeled
Step #1: Juice all ingredients into a glass jar
Step #2: Serve as a single shot or pour over ice with seltzer or coconut water. Option to add a sprinkle of cayenne for a spicy kick.
Step #3: Enjoy!
#9 Fruit-Infused Water
Hydrating summer drinks don’t have to be complicated with endless ingredients and complicated recipes. In fact, healthy summer drinks can be as simple as pouring a glass of water. But, let’s keep it fruity and fun, shall we?
Give your basic water a low-sugar boost by mixing in a few simple ingredients. Stir in a handful of antioxidant-filled berries (like wild blueberries or raspberries), sprinkle fresh mint or basil leaves, and top off your cup with a splash of citrus (like lemon or lime). No need to feel guilty about this summer beverage!
Tips to Make Healthier Summer Cocktails
Good news — you don’t have to give up your summer cocktails in order to maintain your wellness or fitness goals. With a few simple tips, you can enjoy a sip without every occasion turning into a splurge. So, if an occasional rooftop rose or cooling boozy beverage is calling your name, here are simple ways to enjoy yourself while keeping it healthy!
RELATED: Can You Drink Alcohol if You’re Trying to Lose Weight?
Skip the Pre-Made Mixers & DIY
Beyond your cocktail, pre-made mixers are a well-known recipe for one thing — a hangover. Skip the sugar-bomb (and blood sugar spike that comes with it) by avoiding pre-made mixers. You’ll save extra calories and know exactly what’s going in your drink.
Mix Your Cocktail with Low-Sugar Swaps
Speaking of DIY, make your own low-sugar mixer! Kombucha, seltzer, and fresh-pressed juice (like watermelon or citrus) are flavorful ways to keep it light and healthy.
Know Your Boozy Beverage: Calories Aren’t Created Equal
While all alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, some options are healthier than others. Here are some tips!
Opt For Dry Wine: Dry wine contains less sugar per serving. Serve up a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir!
Try Red: If wine is your cocktail of choice, opt for a glass of red for an added antioxidant boost.
Sip in Moderation: Sip slow & keep your calories in check — stick to 1-2 cocktails to avoid overdoing it!
The Healthiest Ways to Sip Through Summer
Whether you’re going alcohol-free or looking for healthy ways to enjoy a cocktail, savor every sip with these healthy summer drink recipes. Keep your sugar low while keeping the flavor high — these yummy drinks will keep you feeling cool, calm, and collected with every sip!
Looking to serve up more summer-inspired recipes? Sign up for FitOn PRO for nutritionist-approved meals, including foods you’ll love to eat.