*Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This blog is meant to provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this blog is not a substitute for medical care and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.*
There is nothing quite like sipping on a refreshing beverage during the summertime. However, the majority of your favorite beverages are typically loaded with added sugars. That's why they taste so good (and go down so easy!). It is important to be aware of the amount of added sugars in your favorite drinks especially when you are living with diabetes, but it doesn't mean you have to stick to boring and bland beverages all summer long. In this blog post, I am going to show you how to create lower sugar summer mocktails and cocktails without sacrificing any flavor (or your blood sugars).
Alcohol consumption recommendations for diabetes
The recommendations for alcohol consumption are the same for those with diabetes as those for the general population. The CDC recommends that women consume a maximum of one drink daily, while men consume a maximum of two drinks daily. One “drink” is 14 grams (0.6 ounces) of alcohol. This is typically equivalent to drinking 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of a hard liquor. To learn more about how alcohol can impact blood sugars, I talk about it more here.
Diabetes-Friendly Mixers for Mocktails and Cocktails
From mojitos to mules, there are ways to recreate your favorite mocktails and cocktails by using diabetes-friendly mixers. These mixers utilize lower sugar or sugar-free products to reduce the overall sugar content of your beverages that often have a high sugar content. No matter what beverage you prefer, there is likely a lower sugar mixer that can cut back the sugar without cutting back on the flavor. Try experimenting with different varieties and flavors to recreate your favorites at home. Here are some of my go-to diabetes-friendly mixers:
Club soda or sparkling water (spindrift is my fav!)
Flavored kombucha or sparkling tonic, like Olipop
Crystal Light, especially pink lemonade
Your diet soda of choice
Ways to Add Flavor to Mocktails and Cocktails without Added Sugars
Most mocktails and cocktails contain juice, soda, or simple syrup to add flavor and depth to your drink of choice. But as delicious as a frozen margarita can be on a hot summer day, the amount of added sugars can easily exceed 50+ grams making it tough on your blood sugars. If you are looking to cut back on the added sugars, you can still add flavor without added sugars to recreate your favorite mocktails and cocktails. Here's what you can use:
Fresh or frozen fruit will give you the benefit of sweetness along with added fiber to support your blood sugars. My personal favorites include berries, grapefruit, and mango.
Fresh herbs like thyme, basil, and mint can be used to add another flavor and freshness to your beverage without any added sugars.
Fresh citrus, like lemon, lime, or orange can also be used in your cocktails to offset the bitterness of the spirits used.
Low Sugar Cocktails & Mixed Drinks for Diabetes
No matter what your favorite beverage is, there is definitely a way to make a lower sugar version. Consider browsing the recipes below to see what sparks inspiration for you to try.
Berry Vodka Cocktail by Veggies Save the Day
Blueberry Thyme Mimosas by Jar of Lemons
Keto Pina Colada by Joy Filled Eats
Skinny Paloma by Eating Bird Food
Skinny Orange Crush by Chef Savvy
Low Sugar Mojitos for Diabetes
If mojitos are more your speed, there are plenty of easy ways to cut back on the amount of added sugar. Most of the time, added sugars (like cane sugar, simple syrup, honey or agave) can be omitted. I personally find that when fresh fruit and herbs are muddled together it is sweet enough on it's own! But, here are some recipes for inspiration:
Strawberry Mojito Mocktail by Mindful Mocktail
Raspberry Mint Mojito by Eat Yourself Skinny
Low Carb Blackberry Mojito by Simply So Healthy
Low Sugar Margaritas for Diabetes
I love a margarita from time to time, but my blood sugar does not love the amount of sugar in them. I usually opt for a skinny margarita and find that is still the perfect amount of sweetness. A skinny margarita is usually made with extra lime juice, splash of OJ and a touch of agave instead of triple sec. Here are some low sugar margaritas for you to try:
Skinny Mango Margarita by Make It Skinny Please
Skinny Pineapple Margarita by Our Love Language is Food
Low Carb Frozen Strawberry Margarita by Remake My Plate
Spicy Skinny Margarita by A Grill For All Seasons
Low Sugar Mules for Diabetes
If you love mules, you will need to stock up on sugar-free ginger beer! Most ginger beer can have up to 30+ grams of added sugar, but the diet versions have none and taste just like the original!
Low Sugar Mocktails for Diabetes
If you want to enjoy a tasty beverage without alcohol, there are still plenty of ways to spice up your mocktails without the addition of added sugar. These recipes are sure to spark some inspiration for you:
Mojito Mocktail by Always Use Butter
Strawberry Lime Mojito by Salt and Baker
Sangria Mocktail by The Keto Queens
Mocktail Moscow Mule by Mindful Mocktail
Interested in learning more about how to dose for your favorite beverages with type 1 diabetes? I walk you through what variables to consider and dosing strategies on everything from alcoholic drinks to your late night burger and fries. You can learn more about the Restaurant Guide for Type 1 Diabetes here. Cheers!