Figuring out what to drink with IC can be pretty difficult and frustrating. Summertime can be especially tricky when you’re hot and craving something besides cold water. While you should stick to your most bladder friendly beverages during flares, you don’t have to always deprive yourself. Check out these IC friendly cold drinks for hot weather that make both your taste buds and your bladder happy.
(As with everything diet-related, try small amounts first to make sure you can tolerate them. You can also take a couple of Prelief tablets beforehand to help counteract questionable foods and drinks.)
Make your own Italian soda
There’s nothing quite like an ice cold soda on a hot day — unless that soda is full of caffeine and citric acid and you’re an IC patient. Ouch! But, that doesn’t mean you have to do without. Consider making your own soda at home without having to buy any special equipment. Just pair a low sodium mineral water (like San Pellegrino) with fruit syrup. Mix one shot of fruit syrup per glass of water. Italian sodas are light and should have a blush of color. If it’s dark, you most likely have added too much flavoring and need to add more water so you don’t get too much sugar. Be sure to serve it with plenty of ice.(1)
You can find dozens of flavors available at specialty markets and online. Avoid sugar free syrups since sugar substitutes can irritate IC bladders. You’ll probably also want to avoid strong citrus flavors like lemon, lime and orange. But there are so many other yummy flavor options available!(1) Try peach, mango, watermelon, cherry, raspberry, coconut and more. You can even opt for variety packs to try multiple flavors like this one from Upouria or this one from Torani.
Use fresh fruits and veggies
Carrots are usually IC friendly. Try a cold glass of carrot juice for something different — and healthy! Carrot juice can increase your metabolism, boost your immune system, help reduce your cancer risk, help lower your cholesterol and more.(2) Other low-acid fruits and veggies are usually IC friendly such as beets, watermelon, spinach, blueberries, cucumbers and pears.(3) Start by adding a bit of the juice into water or low sodium mineral water. If you tolerate that well and want to, you can try the juice by itself with lots of ice.
For a more subtle flavor that’s even more IC friendly, try infusing your water with herbs and/or fruit like fancy spas do. It’s easier than you think. All you need to do is place your cleaned herbs and/or fruit in a gallon of water and chill it overnight in the fridge. The water will pick up the flavor for a subtle, refreshing and bladder healthy alternative to plain water.(4)
Consider using the following alone or in combinations:(4)
- Herbs: fresh mint, rosemary or sage (just a few sprigs will do)
- Fruits: pears, apples, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, watermelon and honeydew
- Fruit peels: lemon and lime peels have a fraction of the acid the fruit itself has
- Spices: cinnamon, cloves, vanilla beans and ginger root
You can get creative with combinations. Mint, for example, pairs well with most of the fruits and veggies. A cinnamon stick and pear can create a nice flavor that would also be good warmed up on cool summer nights. Try raspberries and a lemon peel for a very light strawberry lemonade-like flavor. Peaches and vanilla bean are also a good option. If you need a bit of sweetness added, try a bit of honey instead of an artificial sweetener.(4)
Enjoy a smoothie
Smoothies can be an ideal treat for hot weather that cools you down and tastes great. If you make them yourself, you control the ingredients to be able to keep them healthy and bladder friendly. You can use a recipe or try a few combinations on your own. My kids and I created a smoothie we love this summer with a ripe pear (peeled, cored and diced), half a banana, a half cup of crushed ice, a half cup of peanut butter and a tablespoon of honey. We whizzed it around in the blender until it was smooth and creamy. Tasty, refreshing and with the added benefit of protein!
Another great smoothie option includes cinnamon and pear together. Try this recipe:(5)
- 1 ripe fresh pear
- ½ cup milk (vanilla almond milk, or skim, low-fat, or whole cow’s milk)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ½ banana (optional)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 5 ice cubes (about 1 cup)
- 1-½ tsp. maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar
- Whipped cream (optional garnish)
- Cinnamon (for garnish)
Peel, core and cube the pear. Put it in blender. Add the remaining ingredients in order to the blender, finishing with the ice and sweetener. Blend until smooth. Garnish with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon if desired. Makes one large or two smaller servings.
Along with pears, blueberries — fresh or frozen — can also make delicious smoothies that are IC friendly as well. If you’ve got a blender, play around with flavors and ingredients.
Cool down with a milkshake
Vanilla milkshakes are almost always IC friendly; however, sometimes you want more flavor than just plain vanilla. Summertime is a great time to experiment with flavors and see what both your tastebuds and bladder like.
Peanut butter milkshakes can be the way to go for an easy alternative to a plain vanilla milkshake. Add 1/4 cup milk and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to 2 cups of vanilla ice cream and blend for a yummy treat.(6)
This berry milkshake is also usually IC friendly:(7)
- 1 cup low fat milk (substitutes: coconut milk, almond milk or lactose-free milk)
- 2 or 3 scoops vanilla ice cream (substitutes: coconut milk ice cream, almond milk ice cream or frozen yogurt)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Sugar to taste (substitute: half a frozen banana can add sweetness and thickness.)
- Your choice of fruit or fresh herb (1/2 cup of shredded coconut, blueberries or blackberries. You can even use a few fresh mint leaves!)
- 1 scoop of ice (optional if you prefer an icier drink)
- Whipped cream (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until proper thickness. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!
Make sun tea
Traditional iced tea isn’t so compatible with IC bladders, but making your own fresh herbal sun tea is a different story. You can use fresh herbs and fruits to create delicious sun tea that doesn’t require any sort of tea packet filled with problem ingredients like caffeine. Using a large glass jar with a tight cover, fresh water and herbs and/or fruit you can make a tasty drink with the power of the sun.
Clean your herbs and/or fruit well and place them at the bottom of your large glass jar. You need 1 to 1-1/2 cups of herbs and/or fruit per gallon of water. Fill the jar with water, then screw on the lid tightly and give it a few shakes. Set the jar in a sunny place for several hours. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor gets. In the end, the tea should be warm and have a rich, clear color. Shake it some more than pour it through a strainer to remove the herbs. While it’s still warm, you can add honey or sugar to taste and stir it well. You can even add a bit of lemon peel for additional flavor at this time, too. Immediately place it in the fridge.(8)
Some flavor combinations that work well are chamomile and raspberry, peppermint and pineapple sage, licorice root and flax seed, and lavender, sage and rosemary.
- Osborne J. Enjoy a Soda Again, Italian Style. Simply Delicious. May 2, 2018.
- Higuera V. 8 Benefits of Carrot Juice. Healthline. May 11, 2017.
- Higuera V. What to Drink for Acid Reflux. Healthline. June 14, 2019.
- Osborne J. Infused Spa Waters. Simply Delicious. May 2, 2018.
- Beyer J. Yogurt Based Smoothies Offer Probiotics. Simply Delicious. Sept. 16, 2016.
- IC Friendly Recipes. The Perfect Peanut Butter Milkshake. Oct. 16, 2017.
- Osborne J. Ice Cold Berry Milkshakes. Simply Delicious. April 25, 2018.
- Osborne J. Fresh, Herbal Sun and Sweet Teas. Simple Delicious. May 2, 2018.