10 Things to Drink When You’re Craving a Soda

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Soda Swap

Before the World Health Organization’s announcement that the artificial sweetener aspartame could cause cancer, diet soda was considered the lesser of two evils. And although some experts claim the news isn’t as bad as it sounds, there’s other evidence that diet soda may not be healthy.

Whatever your reason for quitting, we know it’s not easy — especially if you’re someone who’s been cracking diet drinks since their debut in the 1950s. That said, the transition will be easier if you can replace your habit with one of these low-sugar alternatives to soda.

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Sparkling Water

We’re living through a sparkling water golden age. Need proof? Visit any grocery store, and you’ll notice that there are entire aisles dedicated to flavored and unflavored seltzer waters. There’s something for everyone: Liquid Death for Zoomers, La Croix for Millennials, and Polar for Gen Xers. The best part is that they’re all sugar and aspartame-free.

Refreshing filtered kombucha tea in a glass bottle and a glass, with label written kombucha on white wooden background.

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Kombucha

If, on the other hand, you’re a yoga-enjoying, Whole Foods-shopping yuppie, then you might be more open to kombucha. The fermented and slightly sweet tea drink has exploded in popularity, in part because it contains probiotics and antioxidants. While kombucha can contain added sugar, it’s usually a fraction of what comes in regular sodas.

tea

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Tea

There’s a reason cultures have been enjoying tea for thousands of years. It’s a flavorful drink that comes together in minutes. Green tea also has health benefits, with studies showing that it might help with weight loss and cognitive function. It’s also entirely sugar-free, meaning that it’s suitable for people with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions that require low-sugar diets.

Coconut drink with pulp in glass on wooden table

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Coconut Water

While some fruit juices aren’t much better than artificial sugary drinks, coconut water is generally low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars. It’s a favorite among athletes, as it contains important electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and magnesium.

Infused water with fresh strawberries, lime, lemon and basil served in a glass.

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Fruit-Infused Water

Take your favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and make an ice-water infusion. It’s delicious, healthy, and cheap. Popular combos include cucumber and lemon; strawberry, lemon, and mint; and orange and lime.

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Fruit and Vegetable Juice

Fruit and vegetable juices aren’t necessarily healthy — juice mixes can pack as much sugar as sodas — but they do have more nutrients than sugary sodas. Some of the healthiest juices include cranberry, tomato, beet, pomegranate, and apple.

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Closeup of a woman holding and serving two glasses of iced coffee

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Coffee

If you need to keep up your caffeine intake while you wean yourself off of diet soda, coffee is an obvious choice. Unless you add milk and sugar, it’s sugar- and (virtually) calorie-free — plus, it’s packed with antioxidants.

Related: I’m a Coffee Snob. This Cheap Coffee Is the Best, IMHO

Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Healthier Sodas

Although it sounds like a contradiction, a few popular companies have produced healthy soft drinks. There’s Zevia, a zero-sugar soda sweetened with stevia. Or, for particularly health-conscious folks, there’s Olipop and Poppi, two low-sugar prebiotic sodas.

Related: I Tried 9 Spindrift Sparkling Water Flavors, and These Were the Best (And Worst)

Gatorade

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Water Flavorings

While some water flavorings are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, many enhancers have a clean list of just a few ingredients. For example, True Lemon Crystallized Lemon is a flavoring powder made from real lemons.

Related: The Best Good & Gather Sparkling Water Flavors — and the Ones To Leave on the Shelf

Hand taking bottle mineral water from shelf in food store

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Mineral Water

It’s a little boring, we admit, but you can’t go wrong with a cold glass of mineral water. And despite what you may think, flavors can vary a lot from source to source. Best of all, you can drink as much of it as you want (wallet permitting) without increasing your sugar intake.

This article was originally published on Cheapism

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