Homemade Low-Calorie Summer Drinks


I admit it.  I’m a regular at coffee drive-thrus.  I make up lots of excuses to justify this little indulgence:  I’m on vacation, I deserve it, it’s really hot outside, it’s really cold outside, etc.  In truth, it’s all a big fat cup full of rationalization.  In my defense, my most common beverage of choice this time of year is unsweetened iced tea.  Most local spots and national chains have a nice selection of flavors and I can get twenty glorious icy ounces of refreshment for virtually no calories.

While it’s a pretty safe choice nutritionally, financially it can really add up.  So, I try to balance my convenience habit with making my own healthy beverages at home.  I’ve got two favorite recipes to share with you (if you can call “mix fruit with water” a recipe).  I sampled a version of the first one at Plum Bistro in Seattle and fell in love.  (Can you fall in love with a glass of water?)  It’s actually just the basic water they give you when you get seated and it’s worth making yourself.  The perfect mix of citrus and cucumber is the most refreshing water I’ve ever had.  And, that’s saying something.

Lemon, Orange and Cucumber Water

Makes 2 servings of 16 fluid ounces

2 slices of a lemon, each about 1/4-inch thick
2 slices of an orange, each about 1/4-inch thick, cut in half
1/2 cucumber, sliced, about 1/4-inch thick (approximately 12 slices)
1 quart filtered water

Rinse all produce well under cool, running water before slicing.

Place lemon, orange and cucumber slices in bottom of a 1-quart mason jar or pitcher.  Fill jar or pitcher with filtered water.  Cover and refrigerate.  If you’d like, strain before serving.  Enjoy within 2 days.

(I cut the orange slices in half to increase the flavor-generating surface area and so they’ll fit better in the jar.  It’s been my experience that more than 2 lemon slices makes the final product somewhat bitter.)


Fresh from the fridge.


Fresh Raspberry White Iced Tea

Makes 2 servings of 16 fluid ounces

1 quart filtered water
8 white tea bags
15-20 fresh raspberries

Bring water to just under a boil.  Place tea bags in a 4-cup glass liquid measuring cup.  Pour water over tea bags and steep 1 minute.  Press tea bags to extract a bit more flavor before discarding.  Let tea cool for about 30 minutes.

Rinse berries well under cool, running water and place them in the bottom of a 1-quart mason jar or pitcher.  Fill jar or pitcher with brewed tea.  Cover and refrigerate.  If you’d like, strain before serving.  Enjoy within 2 days.

(My box of tea bags says “premium peony white tea” and I got it at Uwajimaya in Seattle.  My guess is that any local Asian market or tea shop would have something similar, if you can’t find it at the regular grocery store.)


Ruby red and refreshing.


(I didn’t include nutrition analysis for these “recipes” because I don’t think I could accurately estimate how many calories left the fruit and became part of the water.  I feel safe saying that they’re extremely low in calories, probably in the ball park of less than 10 calories per 16 ounces.)


What’s your favorite (healthy) cool beverage for a hot day?


  1. Pingback: 3 Low-Calorie Homemade Flavored Waters | Veg Girl RD

  2. Pingback: 10 Ideas for What to Drink This Summer - Veg Girl RD

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.