Whether you’re trying to replace soda, exploring the mocktail scene, or trying to spice up your beverage rotation in a healthy way, there’s so much fun to be had with sparkling, refreshing beverages.
Honestly, the benefits are endless! From cutting sugar, to reducing alcohol intake, to improving hydration, there’s a lot of goodness that comes from simple soda swaps. And while being deliberate with a fun beverage might sound silly, it adds an element of intentionality that can also bring more mindfulness (and gratitude!) into an otherwise boring part of your dietary regimen and daily habits.
Before we get into it, it’s important to note how ingrained these habits can be, and just how addicting sugar and soda can both be as well. We know that dropping soda from your diet — after potentially decades of regular consumption — is not the easiest feat. Be easy on yourself in this process, and be creative with the drinks you introduce as swaps, as a way to make this as fun and positive as possible. You’ve got this!
Ahead, some DIY options for different scenarios, and a few easy store-bought iterations that can help you curtail your soda habit.
DIY Sparkling Beverages
Fruit Juice Spritzer
This is one of the easiest swaps, and it’s so delicious — mix your favorite fruit juice (pineapple, grapefruit, cranberry, pomegranate) with some plain sparkling water, et voilà: fruit spritzer. You may hear some naysayers comment on sugar content. To that we say, fruit sugar is a heck of a lot nicer to your body than high fructose corn syrup. Plus, even if fruit juice has a higher sugar content than, say, water, it’s also chock full of micronutrients and antioxidants that are good for your body. Overall, it’s a net positive, and it’s tasty.
Craving something light and bubbly? Here’s how to make your own:
- 1 cup seltzer or soda water
- ½ cup fresh berries, lightly mashed
- ¼ cup cold-pressed juice or kombucha of choice
- Sweetener, to serve (optional)
Step #1: Add mashed berries to the base of a large serving glass. Then, mix in kombucha or fresh juice. Stir until well combined.
Step #2: Top with sparkling water and stir in (optional) sweetener of choice. Pour and serve over ice!
DIY Mocktail Spritz
If you’re at all curious about the world of mixology, this is your time to shine! But you don’t need to be an expert to craft your own perfect mocktail. Try combinations like coconut cream, lime juice, and sparkling water, or a sparkling ginger lemonade. The more you can use single, unprocessed ingredients, the better (i.e., if you’re making a ginger lemonade, try making it yourself with lemon juice, ginger, and honey, versus a chemical-laden store-bought version).
RELATED: 7 Healthy Low-Sugar Mocktail Ideas
Sparkling Tea Drinks
One of our favorite ways to replace soda is to create a sparkling iced tea. Choose your favorite tea blend, and steep a highly concentrated amount, using less water. Chill that concentrated tea, or pour slowly over ice, into cold sparkling water. You can also add a dash of fruit juice, if the recipe and flavor combo calls for it, or use additions like cinnamon, vanilla extract, or even orange blossom water (which you can find easily on Amazon!).
If you’ve got time on your hands and you enjoy creating something from scratch, consider creating a shrub. A shrub is a homemade vinegar and fruit syrup, combined with sparkling water. Vinegar could have some health properties, depending on which kind you use (like ACV!), and when combined with fresh fruit and a (small!) amount of sugar, you’ll get some additional antioxidants and micronutrients. This also allows you to control the amount of sugar going into your drink — an opportunity you don’t get with store-bought sodas.
Another tasty alternative? This Turmeric Ginger Detox Tea. It’s made with ginger, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and a drizzle of honey, serving as a nutrient-rich soda alternative when you want something warm and cozy!
- 12 oz hot water
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
- 1 tsp turmeric, finely grated
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Honey, to drizzle
Step #1: Add all the ingredients to a mug with hot water minus the honey and stir to combine. Steep for 5 minutes and then strain.
Step #2: Sweeten with a drizzle of honey. Then serve, sip, and enjoy!
Hear us out on this one: sparkling coffee or cold brew. This Italian-inspired creation features less sugar, tons of antioxidants, and is low-calorie. This obviously isn’t the best choice for anyone who’s particularly caffeine sensitive, but if you’re swapping out a caffeinated soda, this would be an excellent healthified choice.
DIY ‘La Croix’
With a food-grade flavor essence (like vanilla, orange blossom, rose, citrus, etc.), you can add just a few drops to a pre-bought, plain sparkling water, and jazz it up ever so slightly. Is this boring in comparison to your favorite soda? Perhaps. But the flavor options might happily surprise you! As will the health benefits, of course. You can also use this approach if you have a SodaStream or another at-home soda maker.
Store Bought Swaps
La Croix (or Flavored Seltzers)
Again, we’re starting this next category with the easiest version — a sparkling beverage with no sugar, but a good amount of flavor. Today, there are infinite options for flavors of your favorite seltzer brand, whether that’s La Croix or your grocery store’s signature brand! We’ve seen flavors like piña colada, cherry blossom, and beach plum, to name a few. There are even cola ‘flavored’ sparkling waters with zero sugar or artificial sweeteners, just a flavor essence.
If you’re really craving a soda and need something sweet, there are so many options on the market these days. Brands like Ollipop, Poppi, and Revive have created canned, sparkling prebiotic drinks that taste like a fruity soda, but are way gentler on your body (more nutrition-focused, lower sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, etc.) and much better for your gut health.
Check your local health food store, Whole Foods, or online retailer if you don’t see these on shelves near you.
While these aren’t necessarily as ‘healthy’ as a healthified soda (there *is* still sugar in there), this is an excellent alternative to alcohol, and again, they’re simply delightful. Brands like Lyres have created a zero-proof collection riffing on classic sparkling cocktails (like champagne cocktails, gin, and tonic, and Aperol spritzes). It’s a refreshing way to give your liver a break, while also feeling like you’re imbibing and taking a load off.
Sparkling Adaptogen Drinks
Another excellent option you can buy at the store (though a bit more expensive than a typical soda) would be an adaptogenic sparkling concoction. Recess, for example, is one brand that offers flavors like strawberry rose, raspberry lemon, lime citrus, and grapefruit tangerine. These blends contain magnesium and L-theanine to help you relax and won’t spike your blood sugar the way a soda would.
Healthy Soda Swaps For The Win
Looking to replace your sugary soda? Well, you’re in luck — refreshing sparkling beverages are here to save the day! These bubbly drinks are the perfect alternative to soda, offering all the fizz and flavor without any of the guilt. When you want to hydrate and refresh without any added sugar or calories, give these sparkling beverage options a try. From DIY spritzers to store-bought mocktails, the options are endless. So say goodbye to the sugar and hello to the sparkling, exciting world of healthy fizzy drinks!