3 Tips to Give Up Soda
By Nikki Doering, RD, LD
November 5, 2019
Almost everyone at some point has a sugar craving. I know because I hear it every day from my clients. And one of the hardest cravings to overcome is soda—diet or regular. Can you believe Americans drink on average 38 gallons of soda per year? That’s 13 ounces every day! But kicking the soda habit is one of the best ways to improve your health. Here’s what I tell my clients…
1. Set realistic goals. How are you going to quit?
Think about a habit you’ve successfully formed in the past and how you achieved that goal. Some people can give up soda completely on Day 1, and others need to slowly wean themselves off so the task seems less daunting. Which one are you?
First, figure out what type of person you are, and then develop a goal. Are you going to stop on a certain date and not have any soda after that date? Or, will you decrease your intake by switching from 20-ounce bottles to 12-ounce cans? There is no right or wrong way to stop drinking soda, as long as your end goal is to kick the soda habit completely. We love helping people change their habits through our radio show Dishing Up Nutrition. Check out one of my favorite episodes called Mastering our Habits with Gretchen Rubin.
2. Drink more water and make it fun!
We drink soda because we’re thirsty, right? And it makes sense because soda is a tasty liquid! But thirst is a sign of dehydration, which means your body is actually asking for water.
It’s not surprising that our taste buds would prefer a sweet treat over flavorless water. So give flavored water a try. How about making fruit-infused water by adding some frozen berries to your glass? Maybe lemon or lime sound more appealing? I know what you’re thinking—“I’ll miss the bubbles from soda!” Then how about having a LaCroix water or Zevia while you get used to drinking pure water? Other delicious and healthy ways to flavor your water are Stevia Drops or Key Greens & Fruit.
Herbal tea can be helpful as you transition away from soda, too. Pay attention to your temperature preferences. Do you find that you drink more water when it’s ice cold? Then don’t forget the ice cubes. Do you love to sip a warm beverage? Try hot water with lemon. Filtered water is best and can be more refreshing and tastier, making it easier to drink. Remember, the ultimate goal is to eventually be drinking pure water most of the time, with one or two other beverages mixed in. You can do this!
But some people just hate plain water. If that’s you, it may be the time to evaluate your health. Schedule a nutrition counseling appointment with one of our nutritionists who can help you make a plan that works for you.
3. Eat in balance.
Did you know that you can decrease sugar cravings simply by eating balanced meals? When we eat protein, healthy fats, and vegetable or fruit carbohydrates, our blood sugar stays balanced and our brain’s desire for sweet treats decreases. Over time, our taste buds become used to less sweetness, and soda will start tasting too sweet and less desirable.
Quitting soda may seem impossible right now, but you can do this. Take it one day at a time, and if you need additional help, our nutritionists would love to walk alongside you and support you.