Cut the Cola: 10 Healthy (and Delicious) Soda Substitutes
Ditch those diet colas and check out this list of soda substitutes that’ll make your taste buds pop. From low-calorie sparkling water to probiotic-rich kombucha, you’ll be cutting the cola in no time!
For long-time Diet Coke or Mountain Dew fanatics, the idea of finding a healthy alternative to soda may seem a nearly impossible task. Yet even in spite of soda’s semi-addictive qualities, more and more Americans are managing to leave their soda-popping days behind them.
Back in 1998, soda consumption in the US reached an all time high with over 54 million gallons consumed per capita. Luckily, after almost two decades of public health initiatives, Americans have begun to ditch the sugar-filled fizz, with soda consumption hitting a 31-year-low in 2017.
Source: Business Insider
Some soda companies have attempted to combat these downward trends by rebranding, adding more flavor variety, or shrinking the bottle or can size. So while soda consumption continues to decline, the temptation of sugary fountain drinks and sleek, diet soda cans persists.
It’s time to quit soda and start sipping something good: check out this handy list of healthy soda substitutes (with and without sugar) that’ll satisfy your craving for carbonation, flavor, or both!
1. Arnold Palmer Lite
A refreshing twist of iced tea and lemonade, Arnold Palmer Lite is a slightly sweetened drink with just 13 grams of sugar in a 20 serving (compared to Coke’s 60 grams) that will help ease the transition from heavily sweetened beverages.
2. Tea – iced or hot
Tea is an extremely broad and varied beverage category, with an extensive variety of flavor profiles, caffeine levels, and ways to enjoy that it’s likely one of the best soda substitutes on this list. Simply put, there’s a tea out there for everyone! Perfect for any season or time of day, tea is a versatile soda substitute and easy way to enjoy flavored beverages with little to no calories.
3. Freshly-squeezed lemonade
A classic summertime pick-me-up, fresh lemonade—maybe with a dash of cane sugar or agave nectar for a hint of sweetness—has enough citrusy flavor to help wash away those memories of your soda guzzling days.
4. Sparkling water
After decades of public health initiatives, consumers are leaving sugary soda behind for its sleeker, healthier counterpart: flavored sparkling water. Nowadays, sparkling water makers are everywhere, from homes to offices, hotels to restaurants. Rather than buying bottles and cans, avid sparkling water drinkers often invest in carbonated water dispensers to mitigate the environmental impact of buying cases of fizzy water. Now that’s some savvy sipping!
Kombucha is a recent health trend that shows no signs of fizzling out. While its poignant flavor is not for everyone, Kombucha typically contains little to no sugar and has the added benefit of probiotics, which are known to promote gut health. Most grocery stores now sell bottles of Kombucha, with some health food stores even offering it on tap.
6. Sparkling water with a splash of juice
Perfect for brunch, sparkling water with a splash of orange, cranberry, or mango juice is a great non alcoholic, low-calorie alternative to Mimosas or Bellinis at brunch.
7. Maple water
Nope, this is not the sugary, sticky syrup you put on your favorite breakfast foods. Maple water is unprocessed maple tree sap that is around 98 percent water and free of additives and preservatives. Around 15 calories per 8 oz glass, maple water contains just a tiny amount of sugar, with a refreshing subtle flavor that’ll have you saying “Oh tap!” (If you can’t find maple water in your area, you can order it online here.)
8. Fruit and herb infusions
A slightly more labor- and time- intensive beverage, infusions are a great way to use up any extra fruit and herbs in your fridge before they spoil. Simply chop whatever fruit and herbs you have, throw them in a pitcher or reusable water bottle, and you’ll be sipping on some fruity goodness in just a few hours. If you enjoy fruit flavors, but don’t want the sugar rush of juice, infusions are the way to go!
9. Coconut water
Like Kombucha, Coconut water is a health fad and popular healthy substitute for soda that’s been on the scene for a few years now. Not to be confused with coconut milk, Coconut water is a natural source of potassium and electrolytes, making it the perfect tropical alternative to plain water.
10. Mineral water
Balanced in taste and mouthfeel, mineral water contains zero calories and has the added nutritional benefit of minerals such as calcium, magnesium sulphate and sodium sulphate (note: minerals may vary depending on brand.) Despite its close association with fine dining, mineral water is an everyday soda substitute that’s sold at most grocery stores and online. Fair warning: it’s on the pricier side!