Looking for a refreshing beverage to drink this summer, but don’t want to over-do it on sugar? Try out my new recipe for a healthier version of Strawberry Lemonade! I use a special ingredient to make this drink flavourful, lower in sugar and packed with beneficial nutrients. Keep reading for the recipe and to learn my special ingredient!
There are so many lemonades for sale at grocery stores that have health claims on the front. But are these lemonades actually good for us? Let’s use Simply Lemonade as an example: “All Natural” “Not From Concentrate” Non GMO”. Wow! The front of the package makes it sound like it’s practically a health drink. How about we take a minute to look at the Nutrition Facts Table before we pour ourselves a glass. One cup of this lemonade has 120 calories and 28 grams of sugar – that’s seven teaspoons of sugar in one small cup! Plus, this drink doesn’t have any beneficial nutrients at all.
This is a classic example of both “health washing” and “empty calories”. “Health washing” means using health claims to make a food or drink seem healthier than it actually is. This commercial lemonade may be “all natural” but it’s not healthy. The term “empty calories” refers to foods or drinks that are high in calories but have no healthy nutrients.
Overall, I’m not saying that it is bad to drink this beverage, but simply that we should treat it as a treat and not as a healthy option. I think we can make a better version at home that has much, much less than seven teaspoons per cup, actually has some beneficial nutrients, AND tastes great too!
When making homemade lemonade, using fresh lemon juice is key. Lemon juice is a great way to add a big burst of lemon flavour. However, it’s a fact that the more juice you use, the greater the amount of sugar you will need to balance out the tartness. I’ve figured out a special ingredient to add lots of lemon flavour without the sourness: lemon tea! #dietitianhack
Lemon flavoured teas are sugar-free and calorie-free but still add a punch of flavour. If you are currently in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, you will need to be careful to choose a low FODMAP tea. Rooibos (red) tea, white tea, and green tea are all low FODMAP. Avoid any untested ingredients. Click to read my blog post on the FODMAP content of teas. If you are not on the low FODMAP diet, then please just ignore all of my notes about FODMAPs!
Personally, my favourite place to buy teas are from local tea shops. I find that loose-leaf teas are often much more flavourful than the teas you buy pre-packaged in stores. In London, Ontario my favourite tea shop is Wisdom Tea Shop (note: this is not a sponsored post, I just really love their teas!) I have two lemon teas from Wisdom which I mix together: a lemon rooibos and a lemon herbal tea. Yum!
Lemon tea tastes great but as I mentioned, it is sugar-free and not sweet. Luckily for us, fruit is naturally sweet as well as very healthy. Strawberries are packed with nutrition, including vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. Adding strawberries to this lemonade helps to make it sweet without tons of added sugar. Strawberries are low FODMAP at 1 cup (140 grams). I generally recommend during the low FODMAP diet to stick to just one serving of fruit per meal/snack. Eating too many servings of fruit in a sitting (even low FODMAP fruit) can trigger digestive issues in some people. Kate Scarlata has a great blog post on why portion size is so important on the low FODMAP diet.
(Note: I do recommend eating your fruit most of the time and drinking it only occasionally. Eating food can be much more filling than drinking it! When fruit and/or vegetables are juiced the healthy fibre is lost. Since the strawberries are blended into this drink the fibre is not lost. Fibre is important for digestion and beneficial for many areas of health, including heart health. Learn more about fibre at EatRight Ontario)
This low FODMAP Strawberry Lemonade recipe makes two servings of strawberry lemonade. Per serving that is 1.5 teaspoons of added sugar – a lot better than the seven teaspoons in the commercial version. Enjoy!
Are you looking for support with managing digestive symptoms and/or the low FODMAP diet? My nutrition counselling and coaching services are available across Canada (via video messaging or phone). I am a registered dietitian with a Master’s of Public Health in Nutrition who specializes in digestion and practical healthy eating tips. Learn more about my services by clicking here.
My friend and fellow Canadian FODMAP dietitian Audrey reviewed this recipe for me to double check it is low FODMAP and safe for elimination. She has some great blog posts and low FODMAP recipes on her website, IBS Nutrition, check it out!
Next week I will be posting my first popsicle recipe on the blog!! Stay up to date on all of my newest posts by joining my email list. You will get a fun weekly email update on my new recipes and blog posts!