How to Kick Your Soda Habit for Good
By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD
Excessive soda consumption is linked to weight gain, disrupted sleep habits, the development of type 2 diabetes, and overall poor health outcomes. Yet despite what the research says, overcoming a soda habit can be extremely difficult.
Many people drink soda for the caffeine, while others enjoy the sweet taste. Regardless of your reasons for drinking soda, there are many benefits to limiting your intake of sugary beverages.
For one, sodas pack excess calories that may lead to weight gain. They are loaded with refined sugars that provide quick surges of energy followed by crashes, fatigue, and cravings for more sugar. Furthermore, soda can cause cavities and poor dental hygiene.
Here are a few steps you can take to kick your soda habit for good!
Substitute with Healthier Caffeinated Beverages
If it’s caffeine you want, you can replace soda with green tea, black tea, or even coffee. Without any unnecessary sweeteners or sugary creamers, these options are healthy choices that provide caffeine. Kombucha, a fermented tea drink that contains beneficial bacteria, also provides a small amount of caffeine and fizz.
However, keep in mind that overconsumption of any kind of caffeinated beverage may leave you feeling jittery or anxious and can disrupt your sleep.
Go for Naturally Sweetened Carbonated Drinks
Some people choose to drink soda because of their affinity for carbonation. Fortunately, there are several bubbly beverages that provide the same mouthfeel as soda without the calories and sugar.
La Croix, Polar, or Bubly sparkling waters contain natural sweeteners that are calorie-free. If you want a stronger flavor, try Spindrift sparkling waters that contain a small amount of fruit juice for a much bolder flavor and less than 10 calories per can.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
One of the most effective ways to help yourself kick a soda habit is to remove all of the sodas from your home and to stop purchasing them in the future. While this can be easier said than done, putting at least some effort into eliminating the supply of soda in your environment can help.
Replace the supply with healthier caffeinated and/or naturally sweetened carbonated beverages so that you have something to reach for when you start craving a soda.
Don’t Go Cold Turkey, At First
For some people, cutting soda completely out of their diet will only make them crave it more. If you are drinking several sodas a day and find it too difficult to go cold turkey, try reducing your intake to half of your normal amount to begin. You can also try diluting soda with water or ice cubes to help you cut back.
Note from Healthy for Life Meals: Eating balanced meals that are loaded with real, whole foods can help prevent cravings for sugary beverages like sodas. Get started with one of our menus today to keep yourself healthy and full so you can work on kicking your soda habit.