You’ve heard it time and time again: Soda sucks for your health. Even diet drinks are filled with artificial sweeteners, preservatives and coloring. (See what happens to your body one hour after drinking a can of diet soda.) But you probably won’t kick the habit until you’ve tasted something just as delicious, or even better. Try these alternatives to cola to ditch your soda addiction for good.
Sparkling water: This year, Huffington Post declared sparkling water to be the new soda, citing the steep increase of sparkling water sales over the past few years and the rapid drop in sodas sold. It’s time to join the fun by making your own flavored sparking water like these from The Yummy Life. If you’d rather buy it straight from the store, check out LaCroix, a popular option for former soda drinkers.
Coffee: If caffeine is what you’ll miss most about your daily Diet Coke, swap it for a cup of Joe. Brewing black coffee at home is the healthiest substitution, though adding a little milk or natural sweetener is fine, too. If you’d rather buy your coffee, cold brews like Grady’s are the way to go! They contain no added ingredients and are slowly steeped so you won’t need to add anything else.
>> Read more: Coffee: Is it Good or Bad For You?
Iced tea: Teas contain antioxidants to keep you healthy and strong, and they can be flavored or sweetened naturally. Try this recipe for Lemon Blueberry Sweet Tea, perfect for any backyard party with friends and family. (Brewing this will save you money, too, if you skip buying cases of soda!) If you'd rather grab flavored bottled tea, pick up some Honest Tea, brewed in nine delicious flavors.
Healthier soda: If it's the cola flavor you crave, you can still get your fix in a healthier fashion. Stripped of all the artificial sugars, preservatives and caramel coloring, some companies have created a smarter soda option like Zevia or Hansen's Blue Sky Free, which use plant-based stevia to sweeten the drinks naturally and contain zero calories. You may also find that your cola isn't brown but is instead a clear color; that's because they don't contain caramel coloring but taste the same as traditional soda.
Infused water: Choosing soda over plain water is understandable, but you shouldn't turn down these fruity combinations. Infusing your water with fruits and the occasional plant (like mint), you can create strong flavored beverages that actually have added health benefits. Try this Strawberry Kiwi Slimdown Water which is packed with antioxidants to get your day going. If you're on the go, pick up a vitaminwater® to feel good about what you're sipping.
>> Read more: Best Fruit Combos for Your Summer Detox Water
Green tea: Drinking a tea with strong natural flavors like green tea is a smart alternative. It's got health benefits to increase brain activity, boost metabolism and keep your heart healthy. But if you're looking for something a little sweeter (or fizzier), brew some Green Tea Lemonade or buy a flavored Steaz Green Tea Soda!