I have never really been a coffee drinker, but one carbonated drink has had my heart since a young age. Coca-Cola has always been a mild obsession of mine and as I have gotten older I have had a lot of trouble shaking the bad habit.
Getting over my addiction became even more difficult when I realized that dining halls are soda fountain sanctuaries, with an endless supply of the sweet drink.
Over the past few months I have began to notice the negative effects of soda on my diet. Soda is a culprit of raising not only our energy, but also our sugar levels.
Many students on campus choose sodas over coffee on a daily basis, and might not realize the effects the sugary substance has on the body.
Here are a few ways to escape your "Buddy the Elf" drinking habits...
Unsweetened Iced Tea
Although it may take some getting used to, unsweetened iced tea is a great substitute. The "dirty water" taste, as my friends call it, is a turn off at first but it is much better for you than any tea that contains sweeteners.
Green tea is especially beneficial because of its diuretic effects. Big word right? Diuretic is the scientific way of simply saying, "this drink will make you pee a lot more." This causes the excess bodily fluids that are causing bloating to leave our body faster than usual. Our friends at Harvard Medical School also tell us that green tea has antioxidants that "can help block bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and improve artery function." So this might not be the best drink option before a long car ride, but it might be the best for your body.
Water, Water, and More Water
Everyone knows water is the best option, but as someone who loves sweets - I know the taste can be a bit boring. Try infusing your water with fruit!! Berries, melon, mint, cucumber, and of course lemon are all yummy options to squeeze into your water to add some flavor.
If it's the carbonation that's giving you separation anxiety, try sparkling water! This also is pretty great when infused with different fruits. Seltzer and tonic water are also options, however be careful because some brands of seltzer have sugar hiding in the nutrition label.
Change Your Chaser (if you're 21 of course)
I know chasing alcohol with anything other than the sweetest drink you can find is a bit out of the ordinary, but I promise you other options work just as well. Cranberry juice, biting a lime, or lemon juice are all ways to get rid of the cheap college vodka taste.
Shakes and Juices
Home-made shakes and juices are not only a great alternative to soda, but they also are a healthy and substantial snack or breakfast for people who are always on the go. There are places near campus where you can purchase these sugar-free drinks, but making them in your dorm room isn't as hard as it seems. Just grab some fruit and yogurt from the nearest dining hall, throw them in the blender, and you're ready to go!
This drink still has the fizzy aspect of soda that we love but has live bacteria in it that makes it even better. Kombucha is known for the probiotics swimming through the drink and is beneficial towards your health. Check out Shanna's article for some more info on this fizzy drink.
"Not So Sugary" Sugar
If you have tried everything and you just cannot get over your craving for sweets, try an alternative such as cane sugar or agave nectar. These both have a low glycemic index (I know I'm sorry big words again). This simply means that both of these sugars have a lesser effect on your blood sugar than unnatural sugars like fructose corn syrup. I personally recommend mixing agave in with some lemon and sparkling water to make a healthier lemonade.
I know going cold turkey might be difficult so don't be scared to half and half that shit! Try weaning yourself off by mixing soda and seltzer water, or lemonade and water during your next trip to the soda fountain. If I could do it so could you.