Today, it’s hard to walk down the street without seeing a sports drink in someone’s hand. Originally created to help football players and other athletes replace electrolytes lost through perspiration during vigorous exercise, these drinks replenish sodium and potassium. Now, with mass marketing strategies and celebrity endorsements, people from Little Leaguers to Boomers are gulping sports drinks – both on and off the field.
While most ads for sports drinks feature athletes working out intensely, many consumers are missing the message that these products are meant for use after extended exercise (60 minutes or more). I’m a prime example, drawn by a desire to be one of the “active” set. Although my most frequent exercise is a brisk 30 minute walk at least twice a week, walking around with a bottle of sports drink makes me feel like I’m projecting the look of a more dedicated athlete.
Well, that was until I took a look at a label. Besides electrolytes and water, these products provide ample sugar, 15 grams per eight ounce serving. A 32-ounce bottle – the most popular size sold – packs a whopping five tablespoons of sugar.
Since few people do work out hard enough to require a true sports drink, I decided to make up an alternative. The goal was to create a refreshing beverage that looked cool, too, without the added sugar.
I wanted to use real fruit in a drink that was lighter than a smoothie, but more satisfying than simple juice. To do this, I whirled honeydew melon, kiwifruit, lime juice and agave nectar in a blender and voila! Green Gulp.
Honeydew and kiwi are excellent sources of vitamin C and both supply potassium to replenish lost electrolytes in the case of excessive perspiration. Agave nectar, made from the cactus plant and sold at natural food stores, is much sweeter than sugar, so you need only a touch. For extra refreshment, you can freeze the melon before pureeing it, and whirl a few mint leaves into this tall, green drink.
Green Gulp (Or Honeydew Kiwi Smoothie) – Makes 2 servings
2 cups cubed honeydew melon, frozen or well-chilled
1 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. agave nectar (or honey)
2 mint sprigs, optional, for garnish
In blender, whirl melon, kiwi, lime juice and sweetener until smoothly blended. If using frozen melon, divide smoothie between 2 tall, narrow glasses. If using chilled melon, pour the smoothie into glasses filled with ice cubes. Garnish each glass with mint sprig, if desired, and serve immediately.
Per serving: 120 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 32 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 35 mg sodium.
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