How do I Handle Summer Drinks?

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘How do I Handle that Situation?’ In our new series of blogs, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will put their heads together and provide strategies to help you handle a variety of tricky situations, from eating strategies while watching sports with friends to how to be mindful while eating out.

Along the way, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will share some of the obstacles they encounter in their own lives and the tools they use to overcome them.

Juices – Kalin

​If we are lucky enough to end up with a summer full of sunshine and good weather, it can be easy to reach for an iced cold glass of lemonade or iced tea when you are relaxing on your deck in the sunshine. However, juices pack a lot of sugar without a lot of fibre, whether they are fruit-based or from concentrate. To put it into perspective, it takes about 2-4 oranges to make 1 glass of orange juice. You will feel more full and satisfied after actually eating an orange versus drinking a glass of orange juice, given that you will be getting the nutrients and fibre, not just the sugar.

If you are looking for a refreshing alternative to juice, try freezing grapes or watermelon for part of your afternoon snack! Also, if you are tired of drinking plain water but would like a tasty drink alternative, try making your own iced tea! Pick a summer flavour that you enjoy, like raspberry or peach tea. Simply steep the tea bags in hot water and let it cool in the fridge. Another common but yummy option is to use fruit infusions in your water. Cucumber and watermelon are great options!


Alcohol – Kelsey

The sun is shining, it’s a lazy afternoon and the patio is calling. This situation can drastically spiral into excessive calorie consumption if you don’t have a plan. A typical summer cocktail can contain 150-400 calories.

Before you head out to the patio, answer the following:

  • Are you going to snack while you’re out? Try to have a balanced meal at home first.
  • Are you going to have a drink? If so how many? What is your favourite drink?

By having a plan in place you are more likely to stick to your nutrition goals. I recommend starting with a glass of water right when you get there and having a large glass of water in-between every drink.

You can also spice-up a non-alcoholic drink by adding:

  • Fresh lemon or lime
  • Lime and mint muddled in the glass
  • A splash of cranberry juice and lemon
  • A splash of lemonade or ice tea

Adding mineral water, or soda water to alcoholic cocktails is a wonderful way to spread the calories out and increase the length of time you are sipping on one drink, thereby keeping your calories in check.

For more information on alcohol, check out Revive’s Guide to Alcohol.


Smoothies – Barbara

The best part about summer smoothies is that they are an awesome way to get in a balanced meal or snack on-the-go as well as being refreshing and delicious! A common misconception many people have is that smoothies = healthy, but it truly does vary from one recipe to the next. Smoothies can be significantly higher in carbohydrates than you may think. Many contain added juices, flavoured powders or frozen yogurt that quickly turn them into desserts.

When purchasing smoothies on-the-go, I always like to take a quick scan of the nutrient information panel. Aim for a smoothie with no more than 45-50 grams of carbohydrate per serving, and if it is higher, consider getting the snack size! Opt to add protein boosters such as hemp hearts, peanut butter, Greek yogurt or protein powder which will help you feel full for longer. A few handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach or other greens can also increase the fibre and nutrient profile of your smoothie and keep you feeling satisfied for longer.

A common misconception many people have is that smoothies = healthy, but it truly does vary from one recipe to the next.

Better yet, make your smoothie at home and take it with you in an insulated thermos! Try out this crowd favourite Chai Spice Smoothie developed by one of our very own Registered Nutritionists.

Get 4 great smoothie recipes here!


Frappe Drinks – Raina

Did you catch the recent Unicorn Frappuccino craze that swept through your local Starbucks? It was marketed as a magical drink that turns from sweet to ‘pleasantly sour’ (is that even a thing?). Unfortunately, the best part about this drink is the fact that it was only available for a limited time. I didn’t have the opportunity to try one (pleasantly sour and long line ups are not really my thing), but I didn’t regret my decision once I read the nutritional information. A grande gave you a generous 410 calories and 59 grams of sugar (think 4 slices of bread). Now to be fair, that’s pretty normal for a Frappuccino. What made me the most nervous about the Unicorn was the list of mystical ingredients like ‘blue drizzle’ and ‘pink powder’.

From what I heard, the Unicorn Frappuccino was not particularly well reviewed. But from the reaction to it, it’s easy to see how excited we get for something cool and refreshing, like iced coffees, frosties, slurpees, screamers, freezies, and smoothies. I’m sure the sale of these drinks increases exponentially the first weekend we hit 20 degrees.

Sadly even if the name is mystical, the calories do not magically melt away. Not to mention these drinks are usually lacking in any real nutrients. Dusting off the blender and experimenting at home is a much better alternative to spending the money and getting nothing but empty calories.

Here are a couple of my cold drink suggestions:

Iced Coffee

Make it at home by brewing extra strong coffee the day before (stick the leftovers in the fridge). Or, make a shot of espresso fresh and let cool.

Pour ½-1 cup regular, almond, or coconut milk over ice. Add a drop of vanilla extract or a small drizzle of agave syrup if desired. Pour in coffee or espresso to your desired strength and stir to mix. Alternatively, use flavoured coffee like hazelnut or vanilla.

Homemade version = 50 calories, 1g fat, 6g sugar

Tim Horton’s Medium Iced Coffee = 160 calories, 7g fat, 13g sugar

Mocha Frappuccino

Make your own Frappuccino at home. Powerful blenders work best if you will be using a lot of ice.

For a mocha experience, use leftover cold coffee, 1 cup regular milk, ½ scoop high quality chocolate protein powder and as much ice as you like. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Homemade version = 160 calories, 3g fat, 13g sugar, 20g protein

Vanilla Bean Frappuccino

For a creamy vanilla frappe experience, try 1-2 cup cold strong coffee, 1 cup milk, ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt and add the ice.

Homemade version = 215 calories, 4g fat, 30g sugar, 18g protein

Starbuck’s grande = 400 calories, 15g fat, 60g sugar, 5g protein