It used to be that there was nothing I loved more than a refreshing can of Diet Coke on a hot summer day. Now, I would never touch the can of chemicals.
If you haven’t given up soda yet, this might convince you. A 2007 study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that one daily soft drink (diet OR regular) is associated with:
- A 48% increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a key predecessor of heart disease and diabetes
- A 31% greater risk of becoming obese;
- A 30% higher risk of having a larger waist line;
- A 25% higher risk of developing high blood triglycerides or high blood sugar;
- A 32% greater risk of having low levels of good cholesterol;
- A trend toward an increased risk of high blood pressure.
I know it can be hard to give up the soda habit, and it’s really important not to trade soda for other unhealthy drinks like Gatorade, Red Bull or Crystal Light. Here are some ideas of healthy and refreshing drinks you can enjoy instead of soda:
Fizzy Drink Options
1. Club soda with a splash of juice, lemon or lime.
2. Agua Fresca: Puree about 3 cups of watermelon (or canteloupe, strawberries or mango) and strain the pulp. In a pitcher mix the strained fruit puree with 1.5 cups of water, the juice of 2-3 limes and stevia to taste.
3. Kombucha is a great fizzy, festive alternative to soda. You can get it in many flavors, and it has good bacteria that can help your digestion, instead of harmful chemicals.
4. Virgin Mojito: Pour some club soda with lime, mint and stevia to sweeten. Enjoy over ice.
5. Mineral Water like San Pellegrino or Mountain Valley Spring Water is another refreshing choice for when you want something bubbly.
Cool & Hydrating Options
6. Coconut Water is great for replacing electrolytes on hot summer days.
7. Green Juice: Have a green juice over ice for a refreshing snack. This Mojito Green Juice recipe has lime and ginger for a nice tangy kick.
8. Protein Shake: A protein shake can be a small meal and a refreshing drink, all in one. I love a Sustain shake spun through the blender with some almond milk, ice and cinnamon.
9. Homemade lemonade with fresh lemons, water, and some honey. Or herbal iced tea is great too!
10. Almond Milk Horchata: Here’s a simple recipe for paleo horchata that uses almond milk, raw honey, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. (I would use less honey than what the recipe calls for.)
And of course, don’t forget about good old-fashioned water too! You should aim to have half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
*Image of “horchata” via Shutterstock