A Dozen Zero-ABV Drinks & Sippers for Summer

When the thermometer breaks 90, it’s official – a round or two of refreshing, chilled beverages are in order.  Not only will an icy-cold concoction help lower your core temperature and replace essential fluids and nutrients lost through sweat, it can be as flavorful and festive as the occasion calls for. 12 Virgin Zero-ABV Drinks for Summer - these mocktails and alcohol-free alternatives rock warm weather pool parties picnics and entertaining!

Except for a birthday margarita or New Year’s toast, I prefer to pass over alcoholic beverages – they just don’t make me feel my best! Food & Wine reports that Zero-ABV (zero alcohol by volume) drinks are rising in popularity 2017 and that’s a trend I can toast to!  I’ve rounded up 12 of my favorite “virgin” drinks to share . . . along with another one of my favorite treats (POPSUGAR Must Have Box). Read on to find more! Continue reading

Sleepy Tart Cherry Hot “Chocolate” – Caffeine Free

Today (January 31st) is National Hot Chocolate Day. I love me a hot beverage any time of day during colder weather, but tea, coffee and even a classic mug of cocoa can keep me up at night thanks to caffeine. Even though regular hot chocolate only has about 1/8 the caffeine of a cup of coffee, that little bit can still make a difference if you struggle with sensitivities, insomnia or other sleep issues. Plus, it’s so sugary – who wants that sugar buzz at night? Not me.Sleepy Cherry Hot Chocolate features tart cherry juice and almond milk that both help to promote sleep. Additionally, carob powder instead of cocoa power keeps it caffeine free

So, I made a few swaps to a rich and chocolaty recipe I make often for the kids. This homemade hot beverage will nutritiously satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you drift off into dreamland. Plus, it’s free of caffeine thanks to carob powder and also added sugars – only a bit of the natural sugars you get in the cherry juice.

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Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte

Tea is . . . my cup of tea! I love that there are so many varieties available that meet me my body where it is for the day, whether that’s requiring an instant pick-me-up, desperately craving better sleep, or feeling bloated and in need a diet detox. Plus, the world’s most popular beverage, is packed with an abundance of antioxidants (varies on the type of tea) to help boost immunity and optimize overall health and well-being.Preparing Lemongrass Mint Matcha Chia  This month, I’ve been jump-starting my mornings with Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte, it’s a exponentially more wholesome, herbal alternative the carbonated sugar-free energy drinks I sometimes guzzle prebreakfast (we all have vices, people). After just a few sips of this steaming green goodness, I know that the cold weather, shortened daylight levels, and lengthy to-do list are going to be so much more bearable.

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Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca – #NewWayToSparkle Mocktail

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewWayToSparkle #CollectiveBias

Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca is a very low-calorie option to carbonated beverages and makes a fun, festive mocktail for your next celebration or post-workout recovery.

Jennifer Fisher CASA Superhero 5kI’ve got my sparkle on! Not just the skirt or the sweat, but I’ve been making every moment sparkle with Dasani Sparkling, a delicious and healthy alternative to sugary carbonated beverages. I drink a ton of water to support my sweaty lifestyle as a runner, obstacle course racer, CrossFit fan and yoga enthusiast – it’s so important to stay hydrated. However, sometimes water starts to get boring and I need a little treat to top off my tank.

I Don't Sweat, I Sparkle!Enter Dasani Sparkling . . . especially the two new flavors of this sparkling water brand, Tropical Pineapple and Raspberry Lemonade.  Refreshing, flavorful and just the right amount fizz to make me feel like celebrating . . . without the consequences of a cocktail or other adult beverage. It’s easy to transform a can of this no-calorie carbonated water into a yummy mocktail – one of my favorite ways is to add pressed ginger root, stevia and a bit of mint to a can of the Tropical Pineapple flavor. That’s it! Check out the recipe for Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca below!      Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca is a very low-calorie option to carbonated beverages and makes a fun, festive mocktail for your next celebration or post-workout recovery.

We all know drinking water is essential for athletes, but did you know ginger also works wonders on a physically stressed body? In addition to a host of other benefits, ginger eases up inflammation and muscle pain for those days when you’ve gone all beast mode on a workout. Ginger also helps quell nausea – like when that sprint to the finish line has made you feel like hurling in the nearest trash can.  And, if that isn’t enough, ginger boosts the immune system, protects against many types of cancer and relieves migraines.

Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca

I hope your enjoy my recipe (below) for Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca – the bubbly water has hints of pineapple complemented with the zing of ginger. Dasani Sparkling has no calories straight out of the can, and this drink stays very, very low calorie yet thanks to the addition of a little stevia along with the ginger.

Dasani Sparkling Water at TargetFind more easy-to-make recipes that are refreshing and fun to make with Dasani Sparkling Water by visiting this link: NewWayToSparkle. Purchase the new, sleek cans of Dasani Sparkling at your nearest Target on the bottled water aisle (near the sodas, juice or on an end-cap) for a special intro price of 3 for $9 (plus a 5% cartwheel offer) now through May 1, 2016. #NewWayToSparkle

Do you have a favorite mocktail? Are you a ginger-lover? What do you drink after a workout?  Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca is a very low-calorie option to carbonated beverages and makes a fun, festive mocktail for your next celebration or post-workout recovery.
Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 0 minutes
Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca is a very low-calorie option to carbonated beverages and makes a fun, festive mocktail for your next celebration or post-workout recovery.
Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Pour can of Dasani Sparling water into tall glass.
  2. Cut ginger into 1/4" thick discs. Using garlic press, squeeze juice out of ginger directly over glass. Can also use fine grater to grate about 1 to 2 teaspoons of ginger instead.
  3. Add 1 to 2 packets stevia, according to sweetness preference.
  4. Add chopped mint to glass.
  5. Lightly stir to combine. Add ice to top off glass
  6. Garnish with pineapple wedge.
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Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie

Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie Wild Blueberries . . . I’m, well, just wild about them. I stir them in my oatmeal, toss in my salads, and blend up in smoothies – like this recipe for Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie I’m sharing today. This smoothie is super yummy, and yes it tastes like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided! In one tall glass, you get natural energy and antioxidants from Wild Blueberries, hydration-balancing electrolytes from coconut water and satiating, muscle-making protein from low-fat cottage cheese.  I love to make this vibrant Wild Blueberry smoothie for a quick breakfast, as post-workout or long run refueling or as a healthier dessert option after dinner or before bed. Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.

So, back to the berries. Did you know Wild Blueberries aren’t the same thing as regular cultivated blueberries? I was already stalking the frozen aisle to buy these special berries for their intense sweet-tart taste long before I came to learn of all the healthy attributes. For example, Wild Blueberries have double the antioxidant capacity of regular blueberries and recent research is suggesting that they may play an important role in gut and brain health and also lower the incidence of diabetes and certain cancers. Talk about small but mighty! Handful of Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberries are primarily grown in Main and Eastern Canada and date back more than 10,000 years!  About 99% of the crops today are individually quick frozen to lock-in nutrition and taste – it also means you can cater to blueberry cravings anytime of the year just by grabbing a bag out of the freezer.  There are many “brands” of Wild Blueberries, and I don’t prefer one over the other — just look for the word “Wild” on the package to ensure you’re getting the most potent and powerful blueberries around!

So, have you ever eaten WILD blueberries? What is your favorite ingredient to put in a smoothie — surprise me, I’m always looking for creative new things to try. Share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.
Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.
Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth. Pour into tall glass, garnish with additional blueberries and coconut flakes. Enjoy immediately.
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Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate #BeeSweet + Giveaway

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate uses Honey Crystals, Fresh Strawberries, and Fat Free Milk that froths up!This Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to my Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate – it’s a mug of hot, steamy love. There is no better way to warm up on February 14th, with the exception of a great big hug from your honey. Homemade from the heart, your favorite guy or girl will be tickled pink to sip away at this berry blissful beverage – and you’ll fall in love with how simple it is to make. Read to the bottom for giveaway.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Oh, and something else to adore – instead of fake flavorings, peculiar preservatives and corn syrup sweeteners found in many hot chocolate mixes, this made-from-scratch recipe uses fat-free milk (for the best frothing!), real strawberries and just a touch of added sweetness from Nektar Honey Crystals.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Can you believe this recipe makes it’s own whipped cream?! Well, not really cream, but the air that gets whipped up while blending makes a nice creamy top that is dense enough to hold sprinkles or colored sugar! I don’t really know the science behind it, but fat-free milk works the best for creating foam in the blender or with a frother. If you don’t do dairy, you can swap out for almond, coconut or cashew milk and still end up with a delicious drink.

Dark Chocolate Pretzels Covered with Nektar Honey CrystalsSince this recipe isn’t over-the-top sugary sweet, indulge your loved one with the perfect pairing – Dark Chocolate Covered & Nektar Honey-Crystal Dusted Pretzels. Ahh, strawberry hot chocolate and dark chocolate pretzels ARE a delicious duo, trust me!

And, it’s always tasteful to express your sentiments with food, words are also nice! Send a FREE “HoneyGram” to your sweetie – along with your personalized note comes with a complementary packet of Nektar Honey Crystals to melt your loved one’s heart. Go HERE to send a HoneyGram – hurry, ends 2/7!

Nektar Honey Crystals productsI first discovered Nektar Honey Crystals when looking for a way to pre-sweeten the homemade holiday tea bags I was gifting family and friends  – you must check out my DIY Tea Bag post, it’s genius. You also need to check out Nektar Honey Crystals, an equally clever and convenient idea Forget about the sticky mess usually associated with honey, these 100 percent natural crystals are super yummy sweet and deliver the familiar flavor of honey and the convenience of cane sugar anywhere — at home or on-the-go. They are non-GMO and naturally gluten free – pick up a bottle of spoonable crystals or a box of individual on-the-go packets at your local Walmart and also enter my giveaway at the end of this post!

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate (serves 1)

  • 8 ounces fat-free (skim) milk
  • 2 to 3 large strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 ounce quality white chocolate, broken into bits
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Nektar Honey Crystals (depending on sweetness preference)
  • Garnish: colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired

To make, place milk and strawberries in a blender.  Blend together for approximately 45 seconds until strawberries are incorporated and froth areating up on top (strangely enough, skim milk works much better than higher fat milks).

Place blended mixture into small saucepan along with honey crystals and white chocolate.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring gently until white chocolate is melted and drink is heated through. Pour into 12-ounce mug, top with colored sugar or spinkles if desired.

Enter giveaway below to try a bottle of Nektar Honey Crystals!

This post and giveaway sponsored by Nektar Naturals, however the recipe, opinions and enthusiasm are all mine! 

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4 Pomegranate Perks for Athletes + Healthy New Year Cocktail

4 Pomegranate Perks for AthletesFall and winter are prime time for pomegranates, a delicious superfood with juice and arils (fleshy seeds) that appear in everything from seasonal salads and smoothies to holiday cocktails and desserts. But there is much more to a pomegranate than festive flavor and ruby-red good looks, the prized fruit offers an abundant supply of vitamins, essential minerals, and a rich assortment of antioxidants – it’s also a good source of dietary fiber. It addition helping optimize health and wellness for the general population, pomegranate has several distinctive benefits for runners, ultra runners, cyclists, triathletes, obstacle course racers and other endurance and strength athletes.

Reduces DOMS: A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that the polyphenols found in pomegranate juice may help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in previously resistance-trained individuals.  Study participants who drank pomegranate juice, rather than the placebo, reported less incidence of discomfort in the exercises administered to provoke arm and leg soreness. Take away:  Drinking pomegranate juice before exercise may lessen soreness and quicken recovery so that you can train again sooner.

Increases Exercise Efficiency:  A 2014 study reported in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, sports scientists at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say that the nitrates in pomegranate extract enhance exercise efficiency by decreasing oxygen consumption during exercise without limiting performance, increasing blood lactate or increasing energy contribution from glycolysis or the phosphagen system. It’s the same sort of benefit that has also been attributed to consuming beet juice before endurance exercise. Take away: Pomegranate juice or extract supplements may enhance exercise efficiently and increase the amount of time it takes to get to reach exhaustion.

Reduce Inflammation and Bolster Immunity: Pomegranate seeds are rich in specific polyphenols, such as tannins, quercetin and anthocyanins — all of which may offer both heart health and anti-cancer benefits. Studies have shown that quercetin can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation and serves as a natural antihistamine to fight seasonal allergies.  Additionally, studies specifically on athletes have suggest this phytochemical bolsters health during the 3 to 72 hour window of impaired immunity following heavy training and also may help increase endurance. Take away: Recover faster and keep from getting sick during intense training cycles with pomegranate.

Quick Source of Energy: A glass of pomegranate juice diluted with a bit of water makes a healthy “sports drink” that will fuel your brain and body with quickly-sourced, natural sugars.  Take away: Ditch sugary, store-bought sports drinks and power up with the healthy carbohydrates and antioxidants found in pomegranate juice.

Smart Tart Pomegranate Meyer Lemon Spritzer makes a healthy cocktail for New Years Eve or other celebrations.A mocktail featuring pomegranate is the perfect way to ring in 2106 – it’s a tasty toast to your health with no worries about driving home or feeling bad the next day. Shake up your holiday libations with my Smart Tart Pomegranate Meyer Lemon Spritzer, the recipe is simple, has no added sugar and features less acidic Meyer lemons (a hybrid orange-lemon) and the previously mentioned benefits of pomegranate arils and juice — it’s also no coincidence that both these fruits are in peak season as we speak!

Smart Tart Pomegranate Meyer Lemon Spritzer makes a healthy cocktail for New Years Eve or other celebrations.Directions: In large pitcher, pour 2 liters sparkling water and mix in 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice, 4 packets Stevia (more or less to taste), and 4 ounces pomegranate arils (along with any juice in bottom of carton). Serve with thinly sliced Meyer lemon. Serves 8. 

What are you drinking for New Year’s Eve? Do you seed your own pomegranates or buy the packaged arils? 

 

 

Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte (with Protein)

Scary Pumpkin Spice LatteSince 2013, Starbucks has peddled hundreds of millions of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes making it the unofficial drink of the Fall season. I’ve served up . . .errr, dozens and dozens of my “not so scary” version, but drinking one gets you membership in a much more exclusive club – a club where members care about what their dumping down their bodies.

Did you know that a typical 16-ounce (“grande”) Pumpkin Spiced Latte has more than 50 grams of sugar coming mostly from sweetened condensed milk and 14 grams of fat.  Oh, and another surprise, the original coffee shop drink doesn’t even have real pumpkin in it! You can google all the other unhealthy benefits, but these are some that bother me the most!Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte

You can still enjoy a steamy, sweet mug of creamy cinnamon-nutmeg-clove goodness without popping the buttons off your jeans with this pop-culture addiction. My Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte can be made two ways – either with your milk of choice . . . or I often like to use a Vanilla Core Power to get a little more protein in the morning.

Core Power Pumpkin Spice Latte

My 16-ounce Core Power version Pumpkin Spice Latte is so much better with 252 calories, 27 grams sugar, 3.5 grams fat (with no whip) and 26 grams of protein. If you don’t use Core Power, the calories are likely to be a bit less . . .but, also less protein. You can stock up on Core Power High Protein Shake here. 

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon FrostingAlso, would you like a Sugar-Free Protein Pumpkin Muffin with Cinnamon Frosting to go with your muscle-making PSL?  I can hook you up with my recipe here!

Are you a pumpkin spice addict (anything), or sick of the trend? Do you make coffee at home, or hit a coffee shop daily? Have you ever been to a pumpkin chunkin’ or hurled your jack-o-lantern? Just wondering! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
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Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Print Recipe
Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired.
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