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What does your Garden Grow? Low Calorie Lemonade

Updated on July 8, 2014
3.9 stars from 8 ratings of Low-Cal Lemonade

Is lemonade an essential summer treat?

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What's the quintessential summer drink? The most refreshing beverage on the face of the planet, whose sunny disposition brightens the muggiest, humidest, grossest day?

Lemonade! True lemonade is an artistic blend of fresh lemons cut into quarters, packed with ice, agitated (preferably by eager young hands), and sprinkled with loads of sugar and honey. For the pure deliciousness of bygone eras, start with organic lemons, raw honey and organic unbleached sugar. Yum!

Classic lemonade is a rich, refreshing drink we can't do without, but the calories add up fast. One tablespoon of Really Raw Honey has 70 calories. A tablespoon of organic sugar has 45. By the time you add enough sweetness to cancer the bitter lemon acidity and reveal the underlying flavors, you're looking at close to 100 calories a cup!

Lemon Basil
Lemon Basil | Source
Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena | Source
Lemon Thyme
Lemon Thyme | Source

Low-Cal Lemonade Saves Summer

Lemony herbs pack the same lemony punch as lemons, but without the lip-puckering acidity.

The result? The refreshing taste of fresh lemonade with a fraction of classic lemonade's calories. You can enjoy a glass, or two... or even three without breaking your beach-body calorie budget.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 6 servings (one pitcher)


  • 5-6 sprigs Lemony Herb, (use Lemon Thyme, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Basil or a mix)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Sweetener, (preferably Raw Honey or Organic Sugar, but anything will do)
  • 6 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest, (fresh grated)


  1. Grab a 5-6 springs of fresh lemon verbena, lemon basil or lemon thyme. If you're cutting from your garden-- - Lemon Verbena grow on long stalks, choose 5-6 stalks 3-4 inches long. - Lemon Thyme grows in 3-4 inch springs, choose 5-6 of them. - Lemon Basil grows in leafy bunches, choose 8-10 leaves.
  2. Rinse the herbs well to remove any dirt. Wash your hands at the same time.
  3. Rub the herbs between your palms to release the fragrant oils. Don't cut them or chop them, just roll them back and forth 8-10 times. They'll be shaped like a cigar, and they'll be covered in bright green lines where the surface is torn.
  4. Place crushed herbs in a pitcher or bowl.
  5. Steep herbs. Method #1- Add 1 cup water to pitcher/bowl (enough to cover the herbs). Microwave for 5 minutes. Method #2- Boil 1-2 cups water on stovetop. Pour water over herbs, ensuring all leaves and stems are covered. Cover dish and let rest for 10 minutes. As an alternative, use a French press or teapot to steep the herbs.
  6. When the herbs are properly steeped, and the water gives off the aroma of lemons, Stop the steeping process by adding the rest of the water to the pitcher or bowl.
  7. Finally, sweeten to taste! The mixture requires much less sweetener than classic lemonade, because it lacks lemonade's acidity.
  8. For an extra bit of color and lemon flavor, add a pinch of lemon zest to your low-cal lemonade.

There are an infinite number of lemonade variations to keep this low-calorie lemonade fun and exciting throughout the summer. One of the best ways to liven-up your lemonade is to add a dash of flavored berry syrup. Raspberry syrup, blueberry syrup or even mulberry syrup enhance the lemonade's color and flavor for a totally new take on the classic drink.

You can also experiment with a variety of sweeteners.

  • Organic cane sugar has a bland taste that lets the lemon flavor shine through.
  • Raw honey provides a richer flavor, and bits of beeswax from the honey's seal add visual interest.
  • Agave nectar, a low glycemic index sweetener, has its own unique flavor that melds with the herbs for a complex taste with lemony undertones.

Experiment, enjoy! and post new variations for everyone to share.


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