Kick the Soda Habit This Summer with Tips from the Pros

07/15/2016 10:29 am ET Updated Jul 18, 2016

Bad habits are hard to kick, especially when they’ve become an ingrained part of your daily routine. These days, most of us are aware of the health risks that accompany frequent soda guzzling, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to quit. Luckily, there are dozens of fun pop replacements to reach for during the summertime that can make giving up the habit just a tad bit easier.

With a little persistence and creativity, you can be on your way to a whiter, brighter, healthier smile!

 

Gradually Embrace Change

Constantly reaching for a soda at work or home is detrimental to your health and can quickly become a daily habit. While breaking this habit is certainly not easy, small, but effective changes can help curb your desire for sugary soft drinks. Restricting yourself from drinking soda might seem like the obvious answer, but after a few days you will most likely find yourself with cravings you can’t resist.

Instead, try gradual changes that will result in long-term results. Health expert and founder of Love More Eat Less, Nancy Popkin, recommends this tactic for bad soda habits: “Fill a glass with ice, pour soda over it. That’s your soda. The ice takes up lots of room and melts to dilute the soda.” By gradually reducing the amount of soda in the cup, you will train yourself into consuming less without the intense cravings. This change is easy to implement and you won’t feel like you’re giving anything up.

 

Find Alternatives

While it may seem like nothing compares to that afternoon Coke you enjoy, there are plenty of other options that are far better for you. One of the best ways to end an unhealthy habit for good is by finding something you enjoy equally ― or more!

With a little creativity and experimentation, you can easily make a healthier and better version of your favorite sodas at home. Monica Amsterdam, Director of Nutrition at the Medical and Wellness Center of New Jersey, advises creating a fruit infused water that has a similar carbonation effect as soda, without all the sugar. “Put ⅓ part orange juice to ⅔ seltzer water. It can also be done with tart cherry juice,” she recommends, in order to create a satisfying alternative. With a healthy and equally as delicious option, you will find yourself reaching for soda less frequently.

 

Distract Yourself

Cravings can appear out of nowhere and make it impossible to resist your favorite soda. However, simple substitutions can help stop you from giving into your bad habit. Distract yourself from the craving by swapping in a different healthy habit.

Dr. Barry Sears, founder of Zone Labs, says “always take an apple with you.” When the craving for soda hits, reach for your apple instead of the soda can to distract yourself with a better alternative. Afterwards, your desire for soda will be completely gone or significantly reduced. Simple distraction techniques and habit substitutions can greatly reduce your desire for soda, especially during peak craving times.  

Confession: In college I was a Diet Coke addict. Even today, I find myself craving a frosty can when the Coca-Cola ads play before movie trailers, but I treasure my pearly whites too much to go back down that road.

If you’re ready to break the habit and start trading in that sugary (or sugar-free) beverage for something better for your mouth and your waistline, the tips above are a great place to start. Happy sipping!

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