- Dr. Nancy
How to Ditch Your Soda Habit
A soda habit is hard to kick. If they're a part of your life, they've probably been a part of your life for a very long time. Any habit can be challenging to give up, but soda can be especially tricky, given its addictive nature.
Addiction to sugar is real. The average American consumes over 150 pounds of added sugar in one year. This equates to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in one week!
American kids consume 81 grams per day, equaling over 65 pounds of added sugar per year. Think of it this way – children are ingesting over 30 gallons of added sugars from beverages alone. That’s enough to fill a bathtub!
If giving up soda has been on your mind lately, I want to assure you there's a slow way to do it. If you're worried about caffeine withdrawal headaches, missing it too much, or just feeling nervous about a significant shift in your life -- let's work on it slowly. Baby steps often get us to our destination in a far more lasting way than trying it cold turkey.
I promise you'll feel so much better when you start getting these artificial sweeteners and other ingredients out of your system -- you'll wonder what took you so long to ditch the soda habit.
One thing that helps is having a replacement, so here are a few alternatives to soda as you're making your switch...
If you crave something sweet, get a water bottle and some fresh fruit and put them together. You'll stay hydrated, and it will taste sweet and refreshing. Plus, you get bonus vitamins from the fruit. Some of my favorite infused water recipes include strawberry and basil, watermelon and lime, and orange.
Flavored sparkling water
La Croix or one of the many other available brands can be lifesavers when you're craving a fizzy soda. These may take some time to get used to when you're switching from soda, but try to find a flavor you enjoy and stick with it until you develop a taste for it. Once you do, you'll wonder how you drank those sugary, syrupy sodas!
Coffee is best in moderation and best when you drink it without adding anything to it, but you can work your way there if necessary. Coffee is an excellent way to not go through caffeine withdrawals, so sip on a cup a day to keep the headaches at bay. After a week or two, you could go to 1/2 caf, and work your way down to no caffeine (if this is something you're striving for).
Unsweetened iced tea
There's nothing like iced tea on a hot day. If you're from the south, though, you may be looking at me sideways when I mention drinking it unsweetened. You can add some excitement and a touch of sweetness by adding fresh citrus, berries or even stone fruit.
Herbal teas served hot or cold can really perk up your taste buds while providing great health benefits. Green tea, chamomile, chai, peppermint, and others all have a wonderful flavor that will keep you from consuming excess sugar.
Start working a healthier beverage alternative into your lifestyle as you phase out your sodas, and you'll find better success in the long run, not to mention better health!