10 Healthy Alternatives to Soda: Curve Your Cravings

10 Healthy Alternatives to Soda: Curve Your Cravings

  • Healthy Eating

  • By Jef L’Ecuyer, Registered Dietitian

    Maybe you’ve said it for the first or twentieth time: I’m going to give up soda. This mantra is an important first step, but how do you make the habit stick? Or rather, how do you un-stick your soda habit?

    Well, the first hurdle typically involves beating those cravings. 

    With healthy soda alternatives, you can curb your cravings, hydrate yourself, and feel much less guilty in the process. That’s a win-win-win situation for your health, which we can all cheers to—with healthy beverages, of course.

    Hydrate Differently: Try These Healthy Alternatives

    If you’re looking for inspiration on flavorful, healthy alternatives to soda, we’ve got ten ideas for you to try.

    #1 Sparkling Water

    One of the best alternatives to soda is sparkling mineral water. Among the many sparkling water benefits, a major perk of consuming this beverage is that it offers the satisfaction of carbonation, mimicking that effervescent mouthfeel, but without any of the sugars or calories. 

    What’s even better than sparkling mineral water? Sparkling water with gut-supporting probiotics, like Bio-K+® Probiotic-Infused Sparkling Water. You can quench your thirst and also invigorate your body. These probiotic beverages are for the sparkling water drinker looking for some tasty benefits. Probiotic bacteria live in your gut and have been linked to supporting digestive health and energy levels.⁷


    #2 Hot Tea

    Hot tea is a great option when you’re trying to reduce your sugary soda cravings. It comes in many varieties, which means you can explore different flavors and combinations without worrying about added sugar or calories. 

    Caffeinated and antioxidant-rich green or black teas can help you start your day in place of a regular soda in the morning. And non-caffeinated herbal tea varieties provide further benefits in place of a caffeine lift. For example, ginger and peppermint teas can help to encourage healthy digestion, and chamomile and lavender blends can help create feelings of relaxation that can help you wind down before bed. 

    #3 Iced Tea

    When it’s too warm for hot tea, iced tea is an excellent soda alternative. If you prefer iced tea over sparkling water but you still want to get a dose of probiotics, try Bio-K+® Probiotic-Infused Iced Tea.

    Our iced tea is the perfect complement to any meal or snack break. This nourishing drink offers a refreshing, thirst-quenching experience while being good for your gut!

    #4 Coffee

    Do you need a powerful jolt of energy in the morning? Consider swapping that first soda of the day with a cup of coffee—just be sure to pass on the sugar.

    Caffeinated coffee comes with the benefit of an energy boost, but that’s not all. When consumed in healthy moderation, this antioxidant-rich beverage can have numerous positive effects, such as helping to prevent inflammation and may even reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. 

    Many coffee drinkers, like tea drinkers, come to love the ritual of brewing, preparing, and savoring a cup of coffee. And this process can be a helpful motivator for creating a positive habit in place of a soda pop reliance. 

    #5 Water with Fruit

    If you find plain water to be a bit boring, you can spice it up by infusing it with real fruit. A lemon or lime wedge are the most common options, but also consider rotating the lineup with strawberries, cucumbers, or oranges. The options are endless, and you can even find special water bottles with fruit infuser inserts that store fruit and keep your water flavored all day long. 

    Pro-tip: Using a large 2 gallon jug (one that fits comfortably in your fridge), you can pack in your fruit of choice before you go to bed and let it infuse all night long. That way, when you wake up, you’ll have a day’s worth of tasty fruit infused water. It’s like meal-prepping—only it’s water prepping. 

    Short on time? Keep a stash of frozen fruit in your freezer to add to your water instead of ice cubes. As the fruit defrosts, the once plain water will absorb the delicious natural flavors.

    #6 Homemade Lemonade

    A cold glass of lemonade can be the ideal beverage on a hot day, but sugar can be an issue if you buy your lemonade at a store. Whipping up a batch of homemade lemonade is a perfect way to be in control of what you’re putting into your cup. 

    Fresh lemons, herbs, and water can provide the same satisfaction without relying on artificial sweetener. You can remix your lemonade flavors and keep each sip fresh by adding:

    • Mint
    • Basil
    • Rosemary
    • Lime juice
    • Muddled raspberries
    • Blood orange juice

    #7 Green Smoothies

    Green smoothies are a perfect way to get the veggies you want in your diet in a quicker and more portable way. The options for combining your favorite greens are endless. Spinach and kale are some of the easiest to blend and flavor with fruits like berries, bananas, or melon. From there, add a dollop of yogurt and you’ll be swimming in a sea of sweetness—all without the crash of drinking soda.

    #8 Kombucha

    If you enjoy tea, this fermented tea offers some variety in your routine and the benefits of fermentation—which includes aiding in digestive health and energy. 

    Kombucha often comes bottled with other flavor profiles as well and offers a slight carbonated texture. Just make sure you read that ingredients label to find the ones with the lowest sugar content.  

    #9 Coconut Water

    Coconut water is a delicious source of hydration and electrolytes and is known for its low sugar content. All of these reasons make it a great thirst-quencher after exercise or if you’re feeling under the weather. 

    #10 Water with Juice

    If you’re looking for another way to spice up a glass of water, consider adding a splash of  fruit juice. You’ll get a touch of flavor and sweetness, but with a significant reduction in sugar count thanks to the water diluting it. 

    Pro-tip: Instead of adding a dash of juice directly to your water bottle, use an ice tray to freeze little fruit juice cubes for your next outing. Not only will this be a tasty, hydrating treat, but it’ll keep your water chilled while infusing that refreshing flavor.

    Why Avoiding Soda is Better for Your Health

    If you’re bidding farewell to that soda pop indulgence and saying hello to one of these nutritious alternatives, then you’re on your way to a healthier, happier you. To aid you on this habit-breaking journey, it helps to remember just why you’re switching off of soda. 

    Here are a few reminders why going cold turkey is a great decision.

    It’s High in Sugar

    Soda is notorious for its high sugar content which gives it that sweet and distinctive flavor. You’ve probably heard that large amounts of sugar isn’t great for you, but when you break down why exactly, it might inspire you to pump the brakes before you take another sip.

    Sugar Can Be Addictive

    Did you know that certain studies have shown that a reliance on sugar is a real thing? It triggers similar reactions in the brain as using known addictive substances. That means triggering sensations of cravings, feelings of dependency, and even withdrawal.

    It Exceeds Dietary Recommendations

    In a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, there are 39 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of sugar for men and 25 grams of sugar for women, daily. 

    That means if you start your day with a can of soda or enjoy one at lunchtime or with dinner, you’ve already exceeded the daily recommendation—and that’s not counting any other sugar you’ve eaten throughout the day!

    It Can Have Long-Term Adverse Health Effects

    The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) offers a striking list of long-term health risks associated with frequently drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. Sodas are a major player in this category. By cutting out sugary sodas and replacing them with healthier alternatives, you can sip with a smile.


    Other Methods to Assist With Soda Cravings

    Of course, it’s much easier said than done to just decide that you’ll stop wanting soda. It’s something you have to train or retrain your body to do. If you treat avoiding soda as a bigger part of your wellness goals, reducing cravings can be more manageable. 

    Here are a few key strategies:

    • Make sure you get a full night of sleep, preferably eight hours.
    • Manage your stress levels with exercise, meditation, and self-care.
    • Incorporate whole foods including plenty of vegetables, healthy carbs, and proteins.
    • Reduce intake of other sugary treats and drinks (not just soda).

    If you try these tips for two weeks, especially avoiding soda and excess added sugar and sweeteners, you may end up finding that your cravings are curbed. And that means saying goodbye to soda for good won’t be far from reality.

    The Better Way to Quench Your Thirst: Skip Soda 

    Giving up soda is a smart decision, and while it can be hard to eliminate it completely, you’ll thank yourself later for ridding those excess calories and sugar from your diet. 

    There are so many flavor-packed and healthy alternatives to soda. By choosing Bio-K+® Sparkling Water or Iced Tea with probiotics, you can feel better about your choice and your journey to better wellness.

    Learn more about how we can help you hydrate smarter and improve your digestive health with any of our other probiotic drink options. 



    1. Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901. https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2010.377

    2.  9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee is Good for You. John Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from:  https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-reasons-why-the-right-amount-of-coffee-is-good-for-you

    3. Avena, N. M., Rada, P., & Hoebel, B. G. (2008). Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 32(1), 20–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.019

    4.  How much sugar is in Coca-Cola? The Coca-Cola Company. https://www.coca-colacompany.com/faqs/how-much-sugar-is-in-coca-cola. Accessed October 12, 2020. 

    5.  Added Sugars. American Heart Association. Retrieved from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugars

    6.  (2020). Get the Facts: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Consumption. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/sugar-sweetened-beverages-intake.html.
    7. Valdes, A., Walter, J., Segal, E., & Spector, T. (2018, June 13). Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from: https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2179

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    Jef L’Ecuyer Registered Dietitian
    About the author
    After her nutrition training at McGill University, Jef specialized in gastrointestinal health with a special interest in the microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. With Bio-K+, she continues on this path by making the world of probiotics more accessible to all.
    View all articles by Jef L’Ecuyer
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