Soda is virtually everywhere via advertisements, restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, and vending machines. So, really, it is not so surprising drinking soda is common and sometimes even favored.
But drinking soda can lead to negative health outcomes, including:
- Tooth decay
- Bone loss
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
So in hopes to get healthy, soda intake takes the backseat.
Besides, an average regular soda can contain 12 grams of added sugar! To put that into perspective, recommendations of added sugars are 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men.
Despite knowing these concerns, breaking that soda habit is much more trying than expected. Those soda cravings even start to intensify rather than fizzle out as hoped.
So, you change to Diet Coke. But not so fast…
Diet soda can be just as harmful to health, even increasing the health risks much like regular soda.
Fortunately, healthier soda alternatives offer pure hydration, natural sweetness, and a nutritional punch!
10 Healthy Alternatives to Soda
From flavored water to homemade smoothies, sip on these healthy alternatives to soda whenever that craving starts to pop up.
If quenching thirst, water is the ultimate goto. Plain water is a zero-calorie drink and virtually free of charge.
If not completely weaned off soda, try drinking a glass of water before popping open a can. The initial water intake can help fill the stomach and reduce the risk of indulging too much in soda.
2. Flavored Water
Oftentimes, the sweetness of soda is desired. Flavor the water with fruits or calorie-free flavor enhancers, including the flavors of black cherry.
Herbs, such as fresh mint and rosemary, spice up water while increasing nutrient and antioxidant content. Lemon, lime, berries, cucumber, mint, watermelon are also flavorful additions.
Muddle the herbs and fruits together to unleash flavor. Add to a large water bottle or pitcher to naturally help increase water intake.
Add small berries or chopped tropical fruits and fresh herbs to an ice cube tray. Fill with water, freeze, and pop the cubes into your next glass of water!
3. Sparkling Water
Along with the sweet flavor being desired, so is the fizziness soda has to offer. Fortunately, seltzer water provides the fizzy bubbles without the added calories.
Using flavor enhancers, like mentioned for flavored water, can create a soda-like alternative while keeping calories and sugar in check.
So if craving Mountain Dew, muddle together lemon and lime and top with sparkling seltzer water.
4. Homemade Lemonade
Most lemonade sold at the store tends to be laden in added sugar and other preservatives. By preparing this lemonade home, you have the ultimate ingredient control!
- 6 cups drinking water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 medium lemons or 6 tablespoons lemon juice
- In a large saucepan, heat the water and bring to a boil.
- Turn off the stovetop, stir in honey until dissolved, and allow to cool.
- If using fresh lemons, lightly roll across the counter to loosen some of the juice. Slice lemons in half and juice into a large pitcher, making sure to remove seeds.
- Add honey water into a large pitcher with lemon juice.
- Stir together, chill, and serve!
Like water, lemonade can be flavored with. Fun new ways to enjoy your lemonade include cucumber basil and watermelon jalapeño.
If caffeine keeps soda knocking on the door, give coffee or tea a chance. Unlike regular and diet soda, these caffeinated beverages offer benefits related to disease protection.
The best and healthiest cup of coffee is one devoid of added sugar, cream, and other ingredients.
6. Hot or Iced Tea
Naturally flavored black and green teas are available and can offer a natural sweetness. When choosing bottled tea, be on the lookout for grams of sugar and opt for unsweetened options.
For instance, Honest Tea offers various flavored teas, some of which include 13 grams of added sugar per serving. Healthier options, including their “Just” Green Tea, supplies 0 calories and sugar.
Kombucha is essentially a concoction of bacteria, tea, and sugar (often minus the tea flavor). It goes under the fermentation process to create beneficial probiotics and antioxidants.
The fermented drink may provide many health benefits, including improvements in gut and immune function.
8. Coconut Water
Coconut water is naturally low in calories and high in rehydrating electrolytes, including sodium and potassium.
The balance of electrolytes helps fight off fatigue and combat against muscle weakness and cramps. This makes it ideal as a post-workout recovery drink or a delightful thirst quencher.
9. Pomegranate Juice
Use coffee or energy drinks as a pre-workout drink? Pomegranate juice may actually improve exercise performance by improving blood flow and promoting greater muscle recovery!
When choosing and drinking fruit juice, stick to a single serving. Topping 4 ounces of juice with seltzer water can likewise satisfy the taste buds without overdoing it with sugar and calories.
10. Homemade Smoothie
Smoothies are one satisfying way to stay hydrated and nourished, even while curbing that sweet tooth!
In fact, these smoothies in the veggies and you will never notice! Delicious and nutritious combos include:
- Green apple pie
- Spicy mango
- Sweet pea strawberry banana
The smoothies, along with these other healthier and zero-calorie drinks, will have you asking “Soda, who?”