When trying to cut down on soda, the first thing you might think to do is switch to diet soda, and of course, diet soda does have a slight advantage over regular soda because it contains little to no calories. However, the artificial sweeteners it uses are debatably good for you, the drink has no nutritional value at all, and though the results are mixed, some studies have shown that diet soda drinkers actually tend to gain more weight than regular soda drinkers do.
Luckily, there are many more options out there to help you ease into healthier beverage choices.
Rather than going for “diet” versions of regular sodas, why not try out sodas that were intended to be healthy from the very beginning? In recent years, many brands have popped up offering these alternative beverages. If you’re craving bold flavors, these are the drinks for you. They taste almost exactly like regular soda, except that they have much less sugar. And unlike regular sodas, some of these healthy soda alternatives provide real nutritional value in the form of fiber and other ingredients. If you want, you could even learn to make your own.
If you’re like me and your favorite thing about soda is the bubbles, sparkling water could be a great choice for you. You get all the carbonation, but with none of the sugar or empty calories. Plus, sparkling water is just as hydrating as regular water, it just hydrates you in a more exciting way. Keep in mind, though, that sparkling water can be a bit of an acquired taste, and though there are many flavored options out there, the taste will not be as bold as regular soda or even the healthier soda alternatives we talked about in the last section.
Juice + Seltzer/Sparkling Water
This is more of a DIY alternative, but if the taste of sparkling water (also called seltzer) is a little hard for you to get used to, you can always spice up the flavor by mixing it with the 100% fruit juice of your choice. The result is a highly customizable drink that tastes like one of your favorite sodas but without all that extra sugar. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak in some healthy nutrients from the fruit, like vitamin C or potassium. There are also options out there to purchase premixed sparkling juice if you don’t feel like making it yourself.
Most sodas have a lot of caffeine, so jumping from lots of soda to none at all can be difficult. If you need a little extra energy during the day, try drinking something like green tea, or even black tea. They both contain caffeine, though much less than your average soda or a cup of coffee, and they can be a great way to try to ease away from relying on caffeine for energy. The best choice would be to brew tea at home since a lot of ready-to-drink options that you buy in stores contain almost as much sugar as the average soda. If you need extra sweetness in your homebrewed tea, just add some honey.
Vegetable juice is best, as it contains fewer calories and sugar than fruit juice, and it’s an easy way to meet your daily vegetable intake goals. If you can, get a juicer and make your juice at home, so you know exactly what’s in it, and you can add fruit to sweeten the drink.
Any of these options would be a great way to break that soda habit and start living a healthier lifestyle!