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healthy drinks to make at home

11 of the healthiest drinks - including recipes

24 Aug 2021 • 8 min read

Are you bored of drinking water all the time?

Or maybe you’re hoping to avoid sugary drinks?

Learning a few easy recipes for drinks which are not only hydrating but healthy too, is a great way to get some extra vitamins into your body.

We’re here to make sure you know all you need to know about hydrating yourself the healthy way, along with 11 of the healthiest drinks – with recipes! – you can bring into your kitchen.

What are healthy drinks?

What are nutritious drinks?

Healthy drinks are drinks which are low in calories, low in sugar, and give our bodies the hydration we need.

Ideally, you should be drinking between 6-8 glasses of liquid each and every day as part of a balanced diet.1

Handpicked content: How much water should I be drinking each day? 

Although water is certainly the easiest and cheapest way to stay hydrated, there’s now a whole variety of healthy drinks to make at home, meaning you don’t have to choose between health and flavour.

We’ll tell you all about those soon…

What type of drinks are bad for our health?

Drinks that are high in sugars, high in caffeine, or high in fat can be bad for our health when not introduced as part of a balanced diet.

How do these affect your heath?

  1. High-sugar drinks, such as smoothies and fizzy drinks, can lead to tooth decay if consumed often, as the bacteria in tooth plaque turns sugar into energy, producing an acid which can break down the enamel on your teeth.2
     
  2. High-caffeine drinks, such as coffee, tea, or fizzy drinks, contain caffeine, a stimulant which can produce a quick burst of energy. Although this is safe as part of a balanced diet, too much caffeine intake has been linked to irregular cardiovascular function,  and disturbed sleep.3  
     
  3. High-fat drinks, such as high-fat milks or milkshakes, are best to remain a small portion of an adult’s balanced diet. Although milk-based drinks are high in fats and vitamins that are good for growing children, it is recommended that adults swap to skimmed or 1% milk to avoid weight gain.4

Summary

  • Healthy drinks are those which are naturally low in sugars, fats, and caffeine
  • Drinks that are high in sugar have been associated with tooth decay
  • Drinks that are high in caffeine have been linked to cardiovascular irregularities, sleep disturbance, and issues in pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Drinks that are high in fats, such as full-fat milk, are important for the healthy growth of children, but can lead to weight gain in adults

What type of drinks are low in calories?

Normally, the simpler the drink, the lower the calories.

If you’re looking for low-cal drinks or healthy drinks for weight loss, the best option will always be a cold glass of pure water. 

Even so, if you’re looking for low calorie drinks with a bit more flavour, pour yourself a cup of:

  • Sugar-free flavoured or sparkling waters.
  • Soda or seltzer waters also come in a wide range of flavours.
  • No-added-sugar cordials, adding a splash of new tastes in an instant.
  • Fruit teas, ideally without added sugar.
  • Infuse water with your favourite fruit, adding a slice of lemon, lime, or anything you want to give your hydration more excitement throughout the day.

As you can see, low calories drinks don’t have to be low in flavour, giving you many easy, quick, and tasty option for hydrations throughout the day.5

Healthy drinks for kids

When it comes to the healthiest drinks for kids, everything that we’ve discussed above also applies here.

Where possible, it is recommended that you swap fizzy drinks, energy drinks, and artificially-sweetened juice drinks for water, low-fat milks, and no-sugar-added fruit juices.6

Fun tip: Some parents recommend buying a plain bottle that you and the kids can decorate together.7 This makes drinking water – or any of these healthier alternative – feel much more fun for the little ones!

Summary

  • There are so many options for low-cal drinks that can help with hydration and weight loss
  • Swap sugary, fizzy drinks for healthier alternatives, from sugar-free flavoured waters and fruit teas to adding a slice of your favourite fruit to your glass for a burst of flavour
  • For kids, it’s recommended to swap fizzy, sugary drinks for water, low-fat milks, or juices with no added sugar
  • Decorating a plain bottom with your kids can be a good way to make staying hydrated seem more fun

11 healthy drinks you can make at home

Whether coffee is your go-to drink or you want a refreshing cold beverage that’s not high in sugar, you’ll find numerous recipes online which use simple, natural, and nutritious ingredients.

Here are 11 ideas:

1. Super smoothies

A smoothie that’s packed with fruit and green veg is a wonderful way to get a significant portion of your recommended five a day in one go.

There are numerous combinations to choose from depending on your tastes, and all you’ll need is a good quality blender.

Particularly great ingredients to add to your smoothies include:

  • Spinach leaves – this leafy green veg contains numerous essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin c and iron8
  • Avocado – avocados contain plenty of vitamins (particularly b vitamins), plus they’re a great source of omega 3 fatty acids9
  • Strawberries – a rich source of vitamin C, strawberries are also great for adding flavour

Why not add in a spoonful of a superfood powder like moringa, maca, or wheatgrass, too?

2. Turmeric lattes

If you can’t resist a cup of joe in the morning, why not make it healthy by switching coffee for turmeric?

As it’s tricky for our blood to absorb curcumin, you’ll need to add a pinch of black pepper to any turmeric-based drinks or dishes.10

How to make a turmeric latte

1

Measure out your chosen milk in your mug and pour it into a saucepan.

2

Add in a generous pinch of ground turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, plus a small pinch of black pepper.

3

Stir in a quarter of a teaspoon of vanilla essence and half a teaspoon of honey.

4

Gently heat the mixture and constantly whisk to combine the ingredients.

5

When hot, pour into a mug and sprinkle with extra cinnamon. Enjoy!11

3. Herbal teas

You might already be a fan of herbal teas and even prefer them to black tea.

As well as being made from all-natural ingredients, many are also entirely caffeine-free.

If you’re looking to make your herbal tea fix a little bit more interesting, why not try steeping a handful of fresh mint in hot water and stirring in a teaspoon of honey?

Alternatively, combine finely chopped fresh ginger root, the juice of one lemon, and boiling water in a mug. Leave to brew before adding honey to taste.

4. Matcha

Matcha lattes are all the craze lately, and another nutritious option thanks to matcha tea’s abundance of antioxidants and ability to support cognitive function.12

How to make the perfect matcha tea

1

      1.  

Pour 100ml of boiling water into a tea bowl or mixing bowl.

2

      1.  

Add ½ a teaspoon of matcha powder and whisk with a bamboo whisk (or fork!) until smooth and slightly frothy.

3

      1.  

Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy. You can also add a dash of vanilla extract if you’d like to sweeten the naturally bitter taste of matcha.13

5. Infused water

Want to make your water a little more exciting? Those who struggle to stay hydrated may want to try enhancing their water with some fragrant fruit or herbs.

Infused water is not only tasty but also low in calories and a great alternative to sugary soda drinks or fresh juice.14

Try tossing in a few slices of lemon, adding some berries (frozen or fresh), or infusing a handful of mint with water in either a jug or bottle.

Cucumber, watermelon, orange, and basil are all brilliant options, too.

6. Kombucha

Kombucha is the most intensive recipe on this list, but the benefits are so worth it!

Not only is kombucha very trendy right now, but it’s also believed to be high in antioxidants and helps to maintain a healthy population of microorganisms in your gut, linked to good and overall wellness.15

How to make your own kombucha

Here's how to make your own kombucha.16

This is definitely the most complicated healthy drink recipe here, so for exact ingredients and more information on each step, you’ll want to read “How to make kombucha”.

1

Put on a brew

            1.  

Steep the tea and sugar in 250ml of boiled water and leave to cool for 6-10 minutes.

2

Create the right environment

            1.  

Create the right environment for the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Remove the tea bag (try not to squeeze it) and add the remaining 750ml of cold de-chlorinated water.

3

Add the SCOBY

            1.  

Add the SCOBY and the starter tea. To allow for SCOBY growth and other fermentation effects, make sure to leave at least 5cm space at the top.

4

Cover the liquid

            1.  

Use a cloth or a paper towel and an elastic band to prevent dust and fruit flies from getting in. But don’t seal the jar as the SCOBY needs to breathe.

5

Leave for 6-9 days

The ideal temperature range for fermentation is 26-27°C. But room temperature should be fine as long as it’s above 21°C. It’s better to leave your fermenting kombucha out of a cupboard but avoid direct sunlight.

6

Start sampling

            1.  

The exact point when your kombucha is ready depends on your personal taste preference. Some people find it’s still too sweet after six days and prefer to wait until nine or 12 days before drinking.

7

Secondary fermentation

            1.  

Or you could move on to a secondary fermentation. If you want to add flavours to your brew, if you prefer a higher level of carbonation or are looking to make hard kombucha, you can ferment further.

7. Coconut water

Natural coconut water might not be to everyone’s taste, but if you find yourself loving its tropical flavours, you’re in for a nutritious treat.

 Coconut water has been shown to help protect against cell damage with its antioxidant properties.17

How to make your own coconut water

Follow this easy step-by-step-guide to make your own coconut water.18

1

            1.  

Buy a young green coconut.

2

Remove the husk.

3

            1.  

Pry open the top of the coconut.

4

            1.  

Add mineral water to make the natural coconut flavours go further, then enjoy!

8. Cranberry juice

Cranberry isn’t just incredibly refreshing, it also contains antioxidants.  

How to make cranberry juice at home

Follow this recipe for some homemade cranberry juice.19

1

Add cranberries and water to a blender and blend on high for 2 minutes.

2

Blend until all solid cranberries disappear.

3

Strain in a sieve, removing any pulps.

4

Pour into a glass and enjoy – orange juice can also be added if you’d prefer your cranberry juice more sweet than tangy.

9. Beetroot juice

Beetroot juice isn’t going to be for everyone, and you’re not going to like it at all if you drop it onto a cream carpet, but it’s, without doubt, one of the healthiest drinks you can make at home.

How to make beetroot juice at home

1

Cut your beetroots about a ¼ inch from their bottoms and rinse them under cold water.

2

Remove the skin if you’d prefer (although it’s full of nutrients!).

3

Cut each beetroot into quarters and add them to your blender, one by one.20

4

If you’re adding water to make your juice runnier or a touch of ginger for taste, add them to the blender towards the end.

5

Chill in the refrigerator for max refreshment.

6

Enjoy!

10. Pomegranate juice

Pomegranates are delicious and eye-catching to boot, but they’re also high in antioxidants.21

If that’s not a reason to add pomegranate juice to your shopping list, we’re not sure what is…

How to make pomegranate juice at home

1

Cut open a pomegranate and remove all the seeds.

2

Place the seeds in a blending a blend in quick “pulses” – they won’t need long.

3

Pour into a strainer and extract as much juice as possible.

4

Repeat until you have the perfect amount of juice.

5

Pop your fresh juice in the fridge until chilled.

6

Served over ice for a healthy, refreshing drink.22

11. Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is the perfect pick-me-up between tasks or a relaxing way to start or end the day, but did you know it’s also full of health benefits?

How to make peppermint tea at home

1

Add a few leaves of fresh mint to your teapot or cafetiere.

2

Fill your teapot or cafetiere with boiling water and leave to infuse with the mint.

3

Once the water has a slightly yellow or green colour to it, it’s ready.

4

Strain into mugs and add another fresh leaf of mint as garnish.

5

If you’d like a touch of sweetness, add some natural honey.23

The final say 

As you can see, there are plenty of healthy drinks to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day without resorting to drinks that are high in sugar, fat, or caffeine.

By swapping a few drinks here and there, you can introduce more healthy drinks into your diet – and with these new healthy drinks recipes, you’ll never get bored!

If all these new information and recipes have you feeling thirsty for knowledge, you might also want to read about “6 drinks high in sugar,” “5 of the best natural energy drinks,” or even about the mysteries of detox drinks in “Do detox drinks really work?

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 24 August 2021

Sources

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/water-drinks-nutrition/
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tooth-decay/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5445139/
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/milk-and-dairy-nutrition/
  5. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/water-drinks-nutrition/
  6. https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/food-facts/healthier-snacks-for-kids/lower-sugar-drinks-for-kids-stop-tooth-decay
  7. https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/food-facts/healthier-snacks-for-kids/lower-sugar-drinks-for-kids-stop-tooth-decay
  8. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-spinach
  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270406
  10. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#section2
  11. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/turmeric-latte
  12. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-benefits-of-matcha-tea#3.-Boosts-brain-function
  13. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/matcha-vanilla
  14. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/detox-water-101#section1
  15. https://time.com/109387/maple-water-chia-seed-juice-which-health-drinks-are-actually-healthy/  
  16. https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/the-health-hub/food-drink/drinks/what-is-kombucha/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24141413/
  18. https://www.marthastewart.com/1050414/coconut-water
  19. https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/recipes/how-to-make-homemade-cranberry-juice-why-you-should/
  20. https://www.organicfacts.net/recipe/beet-juice
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11052704/
  22. https://www.organicfacts.net/recipe/pomegranate-juice
  23. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/fresh-mint-tea
 
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