Photo by <a href="">Joey Nicotra</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

If you’re a lover of the outdoors like me, you’d rather spend more time outside and less time in the kitchen.  That’s why when it comes to reaching for a refreshing summer beverage, I like to have some options chilled and ready to go to consume during a bike ride, before or after a swim or hike, etc. The problem is, most ready-made beverages are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients.  Here are my top choices for ready-to-go beverage products.

BioSteel Sports Drink: This is a blend of electrolytes, stevia and water.  Potassium, sodium, chloride and magnesium are electrolytes lost during exercise through perspiration that need replacement to maintain muscle strength, avoid dehydration and prevent cramping. BioSteel uses no artificial colours or flavours, has zero calories and uses eco-friendly packaging made from renewable sources (including a plant-based cap).  I buy mine by the case at Costco. It’s also available in powder form that needs to be mixed into water.

RISE 1g Kombucha: What is it? Kombucha is a fermented, naturally carbonated tea beverage high in probiotics. This certified-organic brand of kombucha is low in caffeine (2-8 mg per bottle), with no artificial ingredients or preservatives; nor is it pasteurized (a heat process which kills bacteria on purpose).  While the traditional RISE kombucha line contains about 14 grams of sugar per bottle, their “1g” product line is perfect for diabetics, those on ketogenic diets and anyone looking to reduce their sugar intake. RISE is 100% Canadian. You’ll find it in glass bottles in the cooler at health food stores. Important: keep kombucha refrigerated, or it will ooze out the cap or blow off the cap due to the natural carbonation generated by the living organisms inside.

VitaCoco Coconut Water (The Original): For a taste of the tropics during your stay-cation, consider this. Coconut water is well known as one of Nature’s best electrolyte sources, but what you should know is that it’s not a balanced electrolyte source. It is extremely high in potassium, but lacks sodium-–so make sure you add a pinch of salt to balance it out (trust me; it enhances the flavour!). VitaCoco uses hand-picked coconuts from small family farms. It’s also unsweetened, available in several varieties enhanced with other fruits (like pineapple) and comes in tetra-paks, so the taste is not metallic like the canned brands are.  All health food stores typically stock this one.

Walter’s Classic Caesar Mix: Looking for something savoury instead of sweet? This blend of tomato juice, clam juice, savoury spices and salt tastes superb as a virgin beverage (no alcohol needed). Tomatoes are high in potassium and contain lycopene, an antioxidant. Pour on ice, and voila! You have yourself a healthy, electrolyte drink with a kick. Walter’s is 100% Canadian and is MSG-free. It’s available only in glass bottles, but I suspect that’s why it tastes so delicious compared to Clamato (which contains MSG). A vegan version is also available. I buy mine at The Natural Food Pantry.

Zevia Organic Iced Tea. Nutritious? Not really, but that’s not the point of iced tea! If you enjoy ice tea but can’t do it without added sugar, try this one. It’s stevia-sweetened, but isn’t overly sweet. The varieties containing actual organic tea (black or green) will contains some polyphenol antioxidants. It comes in caffeinated and decaf flavours. Look for it at better stocked grocery stores in the “natural” section.

Like any opened beverage, be sure to refrigerate unused open portions to avoid spoilage.

By Andrea

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