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A closeup cropping of a glass of soda with a straw in it. There is caution tape crossing over the soda

8 Replacements for Soda - That Actually Taste Good!

Soda is an addicting combination of carbonation, sugar, and for some, caffeine. Once you’ve had it, you’ll probably want more. It obviously tastes more exciting than water, but unfortunately, soda comes with some negative side effects. Sugary drinks can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes from increased insulin resistance and caffeine can affect your blood sugar levels.

Soda replacements for people with diabetes

Diet sodas seem like a clear alternative to regular soda, but I wanted to get creative and share some ideas that you may not have tried before!

Olipop

Olipop is in a category of its own; it’s essentially a healthy soda, but also a probiotic drink with plant fiber! It has no added processed sugar, and is sweetened with stevia and a very small amount of fruit juice (just 2g of added sugar per can). To me, it doesn’t have that “fake sweet” taste. It’s made with a variety of herbs and spices, like chicory root, calendula, ginger, and cinnamon. There are 4 flavors: ginger lemon, strawberry vanilla, vintage cola, and root beer. This is a newer brand that I have only seen in health food stores in the past year.

Kombucha

Kombucha definitely has a soda mouth-feel due to its carbonation and sweet taste. It is a fermented, probiotic tea drink that comes in many flavors. The base of kombucha is green or black tea and sugar. Most of the caffeine and sugar is gone by the end of the fermentation process, and kombucha should have 4g-12g of sugar by the time it’s bottled. Some kombucha is sweeter than others, so read the nutrition label to find the option with the lowest amount of sugar.

La Croix or Waterloo

These are my two favorite flavored sparkling water brands I feel like I can always depend on. I love the flavors of both of these brands. Try the coconut flavored La Croix, or a black cherry flavored Waterloo! There is no sugar in these brands, just carbonated water, and natural flavoring. If you want, you could also add a few drops of stevia for a sweeter flavor.

Mineral water

Mineral water is slightly different than just sparkling water. It typically comes in a glass bottle and has a certain concentration of trace minerals. It can be sparkling or still, and popular brands include San Pellegrino and Topo Chico. Mineral waters can be fun to infuse with herbs and fruits.

Coconut water

I consider coconut water the Gatorade of the health food world. Coconut water is a wonderful way to replace your lost electrolytes after working out or on a hot day. It is naturally sweet, and typically easy to find in most grocery stores. Some companies add more sugar to coconut water for some reason, so be sure to check the ingredient list to avoid that!

Mock mimosa

Alcohol, especially champagne, can be a lot of extra calories and sugar. This is a great drink to make Sunday morning so you avoid both the added sugars and FOMO (fear of missing out). To make, fill a glass ¾ of the way with sparkling or mineral water. Fill the last ¼ with orange juice and enjoy it!

Infused water

As we know, water is SO important to drink. Infused water makes staying hydrated so much easier! You can simply chop up fruit and add some herbs to your bottle of water. You could also infuse the fruit and herbs overnight in the fridge. Here are some of my favorite infused water combos:

  • Lime juice and mint leaves
  • Cucumber and honeydew melon
  • Lemon juice and lavender flowers
  • Strawberry and basil

Homemade sparkling iced tea

First, make a batch of iced tea with any tea you prefer. If you choose tea with caffeine, be mindful of how your body and blood sugar may react. The way I make ice tea is by boiling 8 cups of water, turning the stove off, and then adding 4 tea bags. I let the tea cool to room temperature, remove the tea bags, and then I might add a few sprigs of mint. Put tea in a pitcher, and then put in the fridge for a few hours until cold.

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Once the tea is cold, fill a glass up halfway with it. Fill the other half up with sparkling water. If you want the tea to be sweet, you can add a few drops of stevia and then mix. Top off with ice cubes before drinking!

Conclusion

Cutting down on soda or completely cutting it out can certainly be challenging, but it is possible! The addicting combination of sugar, carbonation, and caffeine can keep you hooked, but luckily there are some excellent alternatives. Have you tried cutting out or reducing your soda intake? If so, what is your favorite alternative?

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