As a kid, I used to think water tasted gross. “It tastes like air, mom!” I would retort when she asked me why I always had to order a Coke with my meal whenever we went to a restaurant. Through the maturity that comes with age, I grew cognizant of the negative health effects associated with excessive sugar consumption and decided to cut out soda cold turkey. Now, I drink almost a gallon of water a day without any complaint, but that doesn’t mean I don’t spice up my beverage game once in a while. Here are a few of my favorite healthy soda alternatives that pack in more flavor than water while also being low in calories and containing no artificial sweeteners.
I love the Zevia soda brand because it honestly tastes just like the conventional soda I used to drink growing up, without any of the harmful ingredients or the calories. Zevia contains no sugar, sweetened instead by plant-derived stevia extract, and uses no artificial coloring chemicals. There are a whopping 15 different flavors of Zevia you can choose from. My personal favorites include lemon lime twist, strawberry and cherry cola. While most flavors contain caffeine, Zevia also has a few caffeine free options, such as cola, black cherry, ginger ale, ginger root beer and creamy root beer.
I started drinking kombucha, a fermented black or green tea, to improve my gut health based on its slew of probiotics, antioxidants, enzymes and B vitamins. If your taste buds can’t handle a little bitterness, you may not like kombucha, although many kombucha brands now add a little sugar to their drinks to make them palatable to more people. However, if you want your kombucha to be healthier than a regular soda, read the nutrition label on the back to ensure that it hasn’t been drowned in sugar. A good rule of thumb is to choose a brand that contains 4 grams of sugar or less per serving. Kombucha isn’t the right fit for everyone though. If you have yeast overgrowth issues or a digestive disease such as irritable bowel syndrome, skip it.
Flavored sparkling water
Seltzers are a great soda alternative because they provide the carbonation you crave and the zesty flavor you desire without spiking your blood sugar! The beverage market today is saturated with different seltzer brands, offering an overwhelming variety of different carbonated water and flavor combinations such as La Croix, Spindrift, AHA, Bubly, Perrier and others. If you want to choose a healthy option, make sure you look at the ingredients list to ensure it contains little to no sugars, calories or artificial flavors.
Fruit infused water
Finally, perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to elevate the taste of your tap water at home is simply by infusing it with the fruit in your kitchen! To make your own fruit infused water, simply fill a large pitcher with ice and water and add in different fruit or herb combinations depending on what you fancy that day. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Some of my favorite combinations are lemon-cucumber-lime, lemon-grapefruit-rosemary and orange-blueberry-mint!
Next time you find yourself with an unshakable soda craving, try out one of the above alternatives before reaching for that can of pop!