By Nutritionist, Melissa Fine
Feeling the heat and tempted to reach for that can of soft drink, iced frappuccino or energy drink? We all know that these aren't the wisest choice to be consuming given the amount of sugar, or artificial colours and flavours so we asked our Nutritionist Melissa Fine to test drive a range of healthier beverage options to help you make the right choice.
Whether you need something to rehydrate, cool down or pep up with, there’s an ice cold something for everyone here.
1. Rebel Kitchen’s Matcha Mylk
Firstly, holy yum! I thought this would taste like some other matcha beverages I’ve tried on the market (often bitter or grainy), but not the case. Made with just four wholefood ingredients (spring water, organic coconut milk, organic date nectar and organic matcha powder), this is the perfect dairy free pick-me-up - with a gentler dose of caffeine than your iced coffee.
Because date nectar is the third ingredient, this is sweet but not too sweet, so you can really taste the clean, smooth matcha. The coconut milk adds a little creaminess too. Just give your Rebel Mylk a good shake before you swig it so you don’t get a mouthful of coconut bits (we aren’t complaining about this though; just means it’s an all natural product that hasn’t been messed with).
2. Oz Beet It’s Organic Beetroot Juice
Love that dark purple colour – it just screams antioxidants. Made with 90% beetroot juice, Beet It is naturally rich in dietary nitrate, which is broken down to Nitric Oxide (NO) in the bloodstream. Amongst its benefits, NO can boost stamina by increasing oxygen usage efficiency; a good excuse to try a bottle of Beet It before a hard workout.
3. Raw C Coconut Water
One of the lowest-sugar coconut waters on the market (with only 2.9g of natural sugar/100ml), this is an ongoing fave at GMB HQ. With Raw C, you know what you’re getting: 100% natural young green coconut water from Thailand, and that’s it; no added sugar, preservatives or fake flavours that taste like scented candle.
No coconut cracking needed either, and a cheaper, more portable option than a whole fresh coconut when you’re out and about. Delicious as the liquid component in your smoothie/smoothie bowl too.
4. BLK Enhanced Alkaline Mineral Water
What makes BLK water black? Fulvic acid has been added to this natural spring water, boosting it with trace minerals and natural electrolytes.
The main reason I like this though? It’s fun to drink! BLK confuses your taste buds because you’re expecting it to taste like something other than regular water, but if your eyes were closed you wouldn’t know any different – a novel way to hydrate healthily.
This looks like a lip balm, but it’s actually an all-natural water enhancer (yes, really!) that you can keep in your pocket or handbag. Sweetened with stevia (our GMB Founder Peta’s go-to sweetener), FLAVR has zero kilojoules, zero sugar and zero carbs, plus no artificial colours or flavours…so you can feel good about adding it to your H20.
I like that the flavours – like Lime Vanilla - aren’t overpowering, and a couple drops in your glass of water are all you need. Try FLAVR in still or sparkling water, in your smoothie…and on the anti-water drinkers!
6. Drink Maple’s Maple Water
When you think ‘maple water’, you immediately assume it will be sugar-loaded; not Drink Maple, which has only 4g of natural sugar in a WHOLE 250ml popper – that’s low (about a teaspoon’s worth), and at least 50% lower in sugar than many coconut waters out there.
I expected this to taste like maple syrup, but it’s more like water with a hint of maple flavour. Made with 100% maple sap, sustainably tapped from the maple tree, no trees are harmed either.
7. SODA Press Co’s Ginger Ale Syrup
Goodbye green cordial! While mass-marketed cordials and syrups are loaded with refined sugar and artificial colours and flavours, SODA Press Co uses only natural, organic ingredients, plus fructose free brown rice syrup - the best kind of sweetener if you’re going to use one.
And thanks to the old school small batch, slow-brew process, SODA Press Co’s range is full of flavour, needing 30-50% less sugar than your average syrup. The main ingredient in the Ginger Ale Syrup is, as it should be, ginger! A dash or two in my soda water is all I need…gives it a real zing. Tastes like summer.
8. The Ginger People’s Ginger Soother
Like a warm hug for your stomach. If you’ve got an upset gut, this is a better choice than ginger beer because there’s no fizz (carbonated drinks can irritate the gut). Made with just filtered water, honey, ginger juice and lemon juice, this really is a ‘real food’ drink.
Give it a good shake so you get all the goodness of the gut-soothing ginger at the bottom. The honey makes it pretty sweet, so half a bottle is the perfect amount (or for a little less sweetness, dilute 1/3 of a bottle in a cold glass of water).
9. Rebel Kitchen’s Coffee Mylk
For when you need a coffee now. Also, I’m all about the iced coffee these days – a steaming latte isn’t so appealing in the heat (especially if you don’t have air con!). Coffee + coconut mylk also happens to just work, and I like that unlike most other grab-and-go iced coffees which are sweetened with white sugar or something artificial, this is sweetened naturally with date nectar.
10. Nature’s Way Kombucha – Ginger, Lime and Cinnamon
A fermented, gut-loving beverage that actually tastes like a soft drink…I swear! Nothing nasty in here though, and like all quality kombuchas, it’s super low in sugar. Less vinegary than other kombuchas on the market, too; if you find kombuchas too acidic or astringent, this one’s for you. It’s also a good one to start with if you’re new to kombucha, and we love the addition of cinnamon for some subtle spice.
Bottoms up! What's your go-to healthy beverage?