We all have tried to kick the habit of having soft drinks. It is a delight to guzzle down a fizzy cooler on a hot day or to wash down the burger or sandwich or just about everything! So how does one quit cold turkey? Who won’t want a chilled soda with a sizzling pizza? When in a restaurant, we almost intuitively ask for cold-drinks. Well the need to drink is like a reflex, it’s like our brain is hot wired to do it. Solution. The need is to drink and who said it has to be soda, it could be anything. Here is a list of top 10 possible substitutes for the calorie loaded, bane for teeth and kidneys, and one key reason behind obesity. Criticism for soft drinks, been there, heard that right! Presenting to you a wide range of delicious substitutes, dive right in.
1. Flavored water
Call it boring but end of the day nothing beats water. It fulfills the need of the body and everything else is just a fringe we have become used to. Now a cold icy drink of water will refresh you as a warm drink of water will sooth you. Here are few ways around. If you need taste, just add flavor to it. The flavored water is not the way to go; they have more calories than three whole doughnuts! Do it yourself. Cut up few strawberries and place them in cold glass of water. The list of flavors is extensive. You can go with cinnamon and apples, watermelon and jalapenos, peach, basil leaves, lemons, orange slices. It is an open field. Common time frame is 3 hours for the water to be infused with the taste. Create your own punch to suit your taste!
2. Green tea
There is black tea and then there is green tea. Originally from china, this drink has convinced the world that it is ‘the’ health drink. From lowering the risk of a heart attack to increasing the metabolism by 4%. It is brewed in different ways and the additions vary as per the requirements. Starbucks serve a sweet version while home brewed can be totally sugar free. It doesn’t necessarily be hot for iced green tea is a trend. The rates for Japanese green tea can go as high as 1000 bucks for a couple of cups, Lipton offers mint or lime green iced tea powder ( makes over 10 glasses) for 100 bucks.
At a party where soft drinks are your go to drinks, and alcohol doesn’t sit right, how do you avoid it? The mock tails are a way to go. Virgin drinks like Shirley temple, Virgin Mary Hawaiian Punch or virgin colada can be soothing, refreshing and a positive substitute for sodas. The look great with the tiny umbrellas and will keep you away from soft drinks. Caution, some drinks have soft drinks as a chief ingredient so check before you drink. Its one way to class things up.
4. Coconut water
This is one of the favorite drinks of the tropics. Found as a naturally occurring liquid inside the coconut, this drink is gaining popularity as a natural energy drink or a natural sports drink. It is found on the streets sold by local vendors or in plastic bottles, tetra packs etc. The shelf life of the bottled coconut water is 24 months. The bottled water can be plain coconut water or have coconut jelly or coconut pulp along with it. It has a refreshing taste, low fat and sugar content and high in energy.
5. Packet drinks
Who can forget rasna when we talk about substitutes for soda! The one packet which made 32 glasses was widely popular. Slowly they came in small sachets. Tang, Tropicana, naturals gained popularity in market. They are easy to make and easier still to guzzle down. They are lesser of the two evils, goes well with various food types. Red-bulls, Gatorade are a trend now. Though not really healthy, they do make a possible substitute. More traditional based jal-jeera is also widely available. Buttermilk, lassie are popular drinks and carter to different taste buds.
6. Sugarcane juice
This is one drink that will remind you of your childhood. The pressed juice of the sugar cane is among the most popular and highly consumed drinks in India. The instant energy and refreshing taste aside, the drink is high on calcium, cobalt, copper along with vitamins A, c etc. It has medicinal values i.e. it cures flu, freezing among other thing. It has high level of protein and is easily digestible. It is a well-rounded drink and works for your benefit.
7. Fresh juices and milkshakes
The freshly squeezed orange juice is healthier than any can of sugary soda. This doesn’t have to be same fruit (or vegetable) every day. It can change seasonally and as per one’s whim. Strawberries, watermelons or grapes, they are a big step down the health lane. The sugar is all natural and the revitalizing character is unbeatable. It goes really well many fast foods and makes a warm summer more bearable. Milk! Such an obvious option. One can play with it for sure. Bonvita, horlicks and ruh-afza are among the most basic ways to make a scrumptious drink out of milk. More advanced ones include fruit milk shakes, faludaas etc. They are healthy and riot of taste and color. Soy milk offers even healthier option for the health freaks.
8. Iced coffee/cold coffee
Being a caffeine junkie I get that flavored water just can’t beat the thrill of a diet coke. The compromise on sugar is one thing but the hit and wash quality of soda is not easy to replace. Here is one option that balances the sweetness, taste and caffeine. Iced coffee provides the cold relief and has an addictive almost caramel-y taste to it. It’s a fine drink. Hot coffee, black coffee, filter coffee are among few other coffee based options. Italian roast or java chips, coffee have a way of adding light to your time.
9. Iced Tea
No, not tea that’s been sitting out for a long time! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the PJ) this is more sophisticated version available in various flavors. From mint to peach and raspberry, strawberry and cherry, the iced tea can be a soothing sip in a hot summer day. Though the basic element is tea leaves, this version has the coolness of soda, the caffeine need is fulfilled and the waistline is not majorly harmed. It goes well with majority of food and is a good substitute for soda from time to time. Hot tea enthusiast can use that as a substitute.
Lemonade. This is easiest option and a delicious one too. Traditionally it was the go-to drink. It’s cool, yummy and healthier than sodas. This has three basic ingredients, water, lemon and sugar. Add wedged lemon and ice in a tall glass to get a fancier version of the drink or simply pour it in a glass and guzzle it down. Lemon is by far the most citric fruit, it stops formation of kidney stones (sodas support formation of stones, ouch!) and is refreshing. The only drawback is it is caffeine less drink and hence soda addicts may find it inadequate. It goes well with food and hence can be viable drinks at restaurants.