I’m hooked to diet soda! I reach for it at least 3 times a day, and while it’s calorie-free, I know it isn’t a natural beverage. What are some natural, no-calorie alternatives? – A six-pack a day
A lot of people reach for a diet soda to get a hit of sweetness without the calories, but calorie-free doesn’t necessarily mean “good for you.” Diet soda contains artificial ingredients, including sweeteners like aspartame, which is much sweeter than sugar, so your palette really gets hooked on the sweetness. The caramel coloring in soda and artificial sweeteners have been the subject of controversy for decades, with many concerns about negative health effects, but no solid proof to support it. Our mantra at HealthBarn USA is that if it doesn’t come from nature, we don’t want to consume it. And diet soda is definitely not a natural beverage, so it’s worth an effort to make a change for your overall wellness! A healthy way to kick the habit is to transition to a cup of green tea instead—it’s high in antioxidants and also gives you a caffeine boost!
Here are my beverage suggestions that are naturally refreshing throughout the day and mostly calorie- free:
- Water, no doubt, is your best bet. Our bodies need to stay hydrated, and nothing does it like good old-fashioned water.
- If you don’t want to give up the carbonation of soda, try drinking seltzer (you can even make your own!).
- If water or sparkling water is too plain for you as it is, a squirt of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit adds a lot of flavor without more than a few calories.
- Hot or iced herbal teas are another flavorful option, many of which have some natural sweetness from the herbs themselves. For a touch more sweetness, add a teaspoon of honey for about 25 calories, or a teaspoon of agave nectar for about 15 calories. Agave nectar tends to be sweeter than honey, so you might use even less.
- One of my favorite drinks to get me started in the morning is hot water with lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper. It’s got a kick that gets me going just like caffeine would.
- If you’re active and need extra electrolytes, try drinking coconut water. It keeps you hydrated and is naturally sweet with less than 50 calories per cup.
With all of these flavorful, natural options, you should have no trouble kicking that diet soda to the curb. Which option are you going to try to help kick your diet soda habit?
– Stacey Antine, M.S. R.D., author, Appetite for Life, and founder, HealthBarn USA
Do you have a confession to share with Stacey? Want to learn how to improve an unsavory habit? Send your stories our way to [email protected], and Stacey will help!