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When looking for healthy alternatives to soda, it’s important to consider options that are low in added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors.

Why Pick Healthy Soda Alternatives?

Regular and excessive intake of soda can have adverse effects on your health. It has high sugar content and only provides empty calories to your diet. Not only is sugar addictive, but most sodas also have caffeine which can also increase addictive behaviors and cravings. Opting for artificial sweeteners has its own set of adverse health consequences, so it’s best to stay clear of those as an alternative. It’s recommended to choose healthier beverage alternatives that provide hydration and essential nutrients without the negative consequences associated with soda.

Here are some healthier beverage alternatives:

Water & Flavored Water

Staying hydrated with plain water should be your go-to choice. Many people have a hard time with plain water, but there are easy ways to flavor water without the added sugars and calories. You can infuse it with slices of fruit or herbs like mint or basil for some natural flavor.

Make your own flavored water by infusing plain water with sliced fruits, cucumbers, or herbs like mint. Allow the flavors to infuse in the fridge for a few hours before enjoying. Grab a glass water infuser pitcher to easily have infused water on hand in your fridge.

Ideas for water infusions:

  • Citrus mix – Lime, lemon, oranges
  • Berry mix – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Cucumber mint
  • Pineapple coconut
  • Pineapple mint
  • Pineapple orange
  • Watermelon basil
  • Strawberry basil
  • Apple cinnamon
  • Ginger lime

Sparkling Water

If you crave the fizzy sensation of soda, opt for carbonated or sparkling water without added sugars or artificial sweeteners. One great way to make sparkling water taste better is to add a splash of citrus juice or a slice of fruit for extra flavor. It’s a refreshing fizzy drink that can help curb your desire for carbonated beverages.

A personal favorite is Topo Chico, but S.Pellegrino, La Croix, Spindrift, and Perrier are other popular sparkling waters as well. Some of these come plain, and others are flavored for more options!

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that often has a tangy, slightly sweet taste. It is one of the better soda replacements as it is both flavored and carbonated naturally due to the fermentation process. Kombucha even contains probiotics, which can be beneficial for gut health. You can grab kombucha in most supermarkets and now even in some gas stations. Choose brands with low sugar content and you can look into making your own.

As always, check with your healthcare provider. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and individuals with liver or kidney disease, HIV, impaired immune systems, and alcohol dependency should avoid kombucha.

Water Kefir

Water kefir is a fermented beverage made from water, sugar, and water kefir grains. These water kefir grains are small, translucent grains made up of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that consume the sugar in the water, producing a naturally carbonated, probiotic-rich beverage. You can purchase this in supermarket stores or even learn to make your own at home.

It is often consumed as a non-dairy alternative to milk kefir or other probiotic-rich beverages. When drinking probiotic-rich beverages, you can have side effects such as bloating, nausea, intestinal cramping, and constipation so it’s always best to talk with your healthcare provider and start slow.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is a natural, hydrating beverage that contains natural electrolytes. Look for brands without added sugars or artificial flavors.

Homemade Fruit Smoothies

Blend together fresh or frozen fruits with plain yogurt or milk (dairy or plant-based) to create a nutritious and delicious smoothie. Avoid adding extra sweeteners and focus on the natural sweetness of the fruits.

Having a good blender makes all the difference when creating homemade smoothies for a quick nutritious treat. This Ninja Blender System is a great one to have with personal cups for single servings as well as a blender and food processor. Springing for a Vitamix makes a great addition to your kitchen for homemade smoothies, soups, dips, and more.

Herbal or Fruit Teas

Unsweetened herbal teas or fruit-infused teas can be a refreshing and flavorful option. Try brewing your own tea using fresh ingredients.

Vegetable Juices

Freshly made vegetable juices, such as carrot, beet, or green juice, can provide a nutrient-packed alternative to soda. Be mindful of the sugar content if adding fruits to your vegetable juices. Having a juicer at home gives you an advantage with fresh juice which contains the most nutritional benefit.

Iced Herbal Infusions

Brew herbal teas and chill them for a refreshing iced beverage. Add a squeeze of lemon or a few drops of natural sweeteners like stevia or honey if desired.

Low-sugar or Homemade Lemonade

Instead of sugary commercial lemonades, make your own with fresh lemon juice, water, and a natural sweetener like stevia or honey. Adjust the sweetness to your taste, add some ice, and enjoy. For extra flavor, you can add a mint leaf or even some fresh ginger.


Remember to always check the labels of store-bought beverages for added sugars or artificial additives, and try to opt for homemade options when possible.

Making small changes to your eating and drinking habits can make a big difference when you’re following an anti-inflammatory diet. Read more on other changes you can make in this article here.