Addicted to soda? You’re not alone. Despite soda’s health risks, one-third of Americans drink at least one soda every day. But giving up your soda habit is a lot easier said than done.
One of the best things you can drink is just plain water. But sometimes you want something a little more appealing. These 10 healthier alternatives will help you meet your hydration goals without sacrificing flavor.
1. Water enhancers
Water enhancers, sold as powders or liquids, can be a great way to add flavor to your water without adding extra calories.
Use caution when buying powdered drink mixes, however, as many of them are loaded with chemicals and artificial sweeteners. Avoid any containing sucralose or acesulfame. Look for brands low in sugar or sweetened with natural sweeteners such as stevia.
2. Sparkling water
If you’re looking for something that has a little kick, consider sparkling water. Commonly known as soda water or seltzer, this beverage is carbonated like soda. Some sparkling water is lightly flavored, which may help satisfy your craving for something sweet.
3. Mineral water
You can also try mineral water, which naturally contains minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Some mineral waters are sparkling and some are not. The flavors of both mineral water and sparkling water can vary, so try a few brands until you find one you like.
You’ve likely seen these fruit-flavored beverages in the grocery store. If you’ve never tried kombucha, you’re missing out on a beverage that is both delicious and beneficial to your health. Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains probiotics. It’s often combined with fruit juice to create different flavors such as raspberry, strawberry, or mango. It’s effervescent and slightly sweet, so it will satisfy your craving for something flavorful and fizzy!
5. Flavored teas
Tea is a healthy beverage that is loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial compounds, and it’s available in a wide variety of flavors. Some teas, such as green tea, can even help you lose weight.
If you prefer iced tea, prepare your favorite tea ahead of time by steeping it in hot water, and then transfer it to the fridge until chilled. Pour over ice and enjoy!
6. Naturally flavored water
While many flavored waters available on the market are full of chemicals and artificial sweeteners, many new products are now catering to health-conscious individuals who don’t want the artificial ingredients.
Hint is one brand that advertises its flavored water as free of sweeteners and preservatives. Bai fruit drinks are sweetened with erythritol, a sugar alcohol that doesn’t impact blood glucose the way that sugar does. Look for these types of drinks in the health food section of your local supermarket.
7. Lemon-lime citrus drink
All you need to make your own citrus drink is a lemon, lime, sparkling water, and a natural sugar substitute, such as stevia.
Squeeze your fruits into a glass of sparkling water and add a small amount of sweetener. This drink is so refreshing, it may become your new favorite!
8. DIY juice
If you have a juicer, you can use fruits and vegetables to create a low-calorie flavorful drink.
Apples, pineapples, and even carrots add a natural sweetness to drinks. You can also add leafy greens like baby spinach and kale without affecting the flavor much. Cucumber is also great for juicing and adds a refreshing taste. Play around with different combinations and find your favorite recipe! Not only will you be removing harmful sodas from your diet, you’ll also be boosting your health with the vitamins and antioxidants in all the fruit. Win win!
9. Fruit-infused water
Another way to use fruit to add flavor to your drinks is to create your own fruit-infused water.
This method is simple: Soak your favorite fruits in a pitcher of water and let it steep. After a few hours, your water will have the flavor of fresh fruit. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor will be.
We saved the best alternative for last. Water should always be the primary drink in your diet. Water will help keep your internal organs functioning properly, help your body filter out waste, keep your skin supple, and may even help you hit your weight-loss goals.
Need help losing weight and making healthy choices? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers offer personalized weight-loss plans with consistent, professional support to help you reach and maintain your goal weight. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on January 19, 2018