Lemonade, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, June 29, 2009

There’s nothing better than than an icy glass of lemonade on a hot day, but who needs all those extra calories from added sweeteners? Instead of turning to sugary, packaged mixes, make your own light and fresh versions. Here are our tricks.

Citrus Squeeze
A glass of sweetened lemonade (typically 8 ounces) that comes from a mix or carton has about 120 calories and about 7 teaspoons of sugar. When I checked out the options at my local grocery store, I found most are sweetened with tons of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, while the low-calorie version are drowning in artificial sweeteners.

Go for the real deal — lemons, a small amount of sugar and water are all you need. Not only do you skip the preservatives and processed ingredients, but fresh lemon juice has a hefty dose of vitamin C and some potassium. Stick with fresh lemon (pass on the bottled stuff) — it’s a little more time consuming to do the squeezing, but you’ll taste the difference. An average lemon yields about 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) depending on the size. Use a juicer or a handy reamer to get every last drop.

A Sprinkle of Sweetness
When you make your own, you can control the amount of sweetener — and sugar’s not your only option. If sugar is your top choice, opt for the superfine variety, which dissolves into drinks better, or make a simple syrup. This way the sweetness distributes evenly in every glass — no watery lemonade at the top of your pitcher and inches of sugar sinking to the bottom. You can also infuse your simple syrup with herbs like mint, basil, or orange peel for some extra (calorie-free) flavor.

Honey and agave nectar are some other sugar alternatives to try. Some of these sweeteners are actually sweeter than sugar, so you’ll most likely need to use less. Start by swapping half the recommended amount of sugar (for example, if the recipes calls for 1 cup of sugar, then use no more than 1/2 cup of agave nectar). Then let your taste buds decide — you can always add it a bit more. Since most of the calories in lemonade come from sweeteners, keep portions to a few teaspoons per person max.

Adding a splash of fresh fruit juice is my favorite way to add sweetness — not to mention it boosts vitamins and antioxidants and gives your drink a dash of color and a bit more zing. I found this Food Network Magazine recipe that mixes mashed fresh strawberries, guava juice and lemon juice to make an interesting combo.

And then, of course, there’s always the “Arnold Palmer,” which is when you mix your lemonade with some iced tea.

TELL US: Do you like your lemonade straight or pepped up with other flavors?

More posts from .

Similar Posts

How to Build a Better Chicken Pot Pie

Order this classic dish at a restaurant and you’re in for a 900-calorie meal (that’s without appetizers or dessert!). Opt for frozen and you won...

Comments (78)

  1. Karen Brown says:

    Wow, Cheryl – that sounds awesome! I was curious to see if anyone would mention stevia, which is a wonderful, all-natural no-calorie alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar. I know you can buy powdered stevia in most grocery stores these days, and that would be easy enough to dissolve in the lemonade. But I imagine you could steep the stevia leaves in boiling water to make a… well, not a syrup, but a sweetened water to mix with the lemon juice. I guess I'll have to try it and let y'all know. :-)

  2. Sylvie says:

    Bob, can you explaine a little bit more about wy it was created ty a doctor in 1930's. And a bit more about the maca? By the way woud you like to include your recipe of ginger beer. Thank you very much. Sylvie from Montréal

  3. Randall Beyl says:

    When My partner and i originally mentioned I engaged the Notify me while new comments are added checkbox and after this when a comment is actually added My spouse and i get many e-mails with all the same opinion. Is there any way you could remove individuals from in which service? Bless a person!

  4. Your mode of describing all in this article is actually fastidious, every one be able to without difficulty be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  5. Son Kordus says:

    When some one searches for his required thing, therefore he/she wishes to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

  6. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appearance. I must say you have done a very good job with this. Also, the blog loads super fast for me on Firefox. Exceptional Blog!

  7. Hi, constantly i used to check blog posts here in the early hours in the morning, as i love to find out more and more.

  8. A solid share, I just with all this onto a new colleague who had previously been doing a bit evaluation on this. And he in reality bought me breakfast because I discovered it pertaining to him.. smile. So ok, i’ll reword in which: Thnx for the treat! However sure Thnkx for spending the time to discussion this, I experience strongly about this and really like reading more about this topic. If feasible, as you turn out to be expertise, would an individual mind updating your site with a lot more particulars? It’s extremely great for me. Large thumb up because of this blog put up!

  9. Hi! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Thanks a ton!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>