I used to drink soda nonstop. I worked in the restaurant industry for years, which meant that I had an endless flow of soda at my fingertips. This was very tempting, but after reading about the side effects of high fructose corn syrup and aspartame, I cut soda out of my diet. I gave up soda completely about three years ago, and I've been diet-soda-free for almost four years. If I do end up having one, it’s usually an all-natural soda like Blue Sky or Zevia.
So what do I drink instead of soda?
- Water. I drink lots and lots of water. I always make sure I get a minimum of 64 ounces per day, but I shoot for more. During the hot, summer months I try to get at least 96 ounces of water.
- Coconut water. I usually drink the plain flavor, but coconut water also comes in flavors like mango and passion fruit. Coconut water has many health benefits, including a lot of potassium and natural minerals, and it's great after a workout, to help balance your electrolyte levels.
- Sparkling water. If what you love about soda is the carbonation, try sparkling water. I’ve enjoyed it with added flavors like cucumber, mint, or blueberry.
- Homemade flavored sparkling water. In an 8-ounce glass, add a splash of cranberry juice or orange juice. Instant spritzer! You can also muddle some fruit or vegetables in the bottom of your glass before adding ice and sparkling water. This will give you a nice, natural kick to your water. Try this with cucumbers, mint, strawberries, or raspberries.
- A cup of tea. There are so many different and brands flavors to enjoy. It’s all about finding the one that works best for you.
- A cup of coffee. This offers many health benefits, but if you're sensitive to caffeine, be careful. I limit myself to 1 cup of coffee per day. That way if I am really dragging, I can have an extra cup and get the benefits of the added caffeine.
- An energy drink. On rare occasions, I will have an energy drink. But as with coffee, I limit my intake so that I can get the full effect of caffeine when needed. The kind I prefer is Steaz because they offer a zero-calorie option that is sweetened with stevia.
I hope this offers you a few new ideas! By swapping soda with the above options, you can lose weight, feel more energized, and reduce the amount of sugar and artificial sweeteners you consume.