Alternatives to Soda: 7 Tasty and Healthy Recipes

Image by Kevin Trotman

Soda is probably one of the worst things you can drink. Maybe that is why it is so tasty. Here are some things you can drink that will be ten times more healthy for your body:

Water One of the best things you can drink. Too bad it is so boring. Next.

Sparkling Water + Lime A variation of the above with a little extra zest (literally!). Just get some seltzer and add a little bit of lime. Lime is great for the body and its acidity helps get rid of a lot of bad things in your stomach. Lime also has been shown to help heal scars faster. Just make sure you get real sparkling water and not something like tonic water that has a bunch of sugar in it.

Green Tea Green tea has all sorts of health benefits. It helps you stay hydrated, cures acne, and the Chinese even believe it gives you super powers. It is easy to make, can be consumed hot or icy, and is way cheap. Other teas like white tea are great too, but try to stay away from teas like black tea that have a high dose of caffeine (unless you are studying for an exam).

Soy Milk Not everybody loves it, but it is one of the healthiest and, in my opinion (once I got used to it), tastiest things you can drink. Comes in all sorts of flavors. From chocolate to vanilla to extra calcium (mmm calcium…).

Lemonade and Limeade Just squeeze one lemon or lime into a large glass of water. Add one or two spoons of sugar, but don’t go overboard. Super easy, quick, and healthy.

Fruit Juice Juices are a great way to get a lot of needed vitamins into your body. They taste great too. There is so much variety in fruit juice that you will never get bored. If the super-market just is not doing it for you, try to make some juice at home. Ever tried home-made carrot juice? It is delicious!

Beer or Wine Although both contain some alcohol, they still have many health benefits. Red wine is continuously shown to help with high cholesterol and a bunch of other maladies. Beer has been shown to have similar benefits. Read some of our Booze Reviews for suggestions.

General tips You want to drink something with not too much sugar, alcohol, or caffeine. And, completely stay away from high-fructose corn syrup! Those things dehydrate your body so the more you drink, the more you need to drink.

Giving Up If all else fails, you can still stay away from processed additives like high fructose corn syrup by making your own soda at home. Plus, it’s great fun!

Happy drinking!

89 Thoughts on “Alternatives to Soda: 7 Tasty and Healthy Recipes”

  1. BEER!

  2. Rooibos tea is another good alternative on the tea front. No caffeine, low in tanins, etc. Tastes great too.

  3. I would like to contradict your comment that soy milk is healthy. It may be healthier than soda, but soy products actually have more negative effects than positive ones. Here are just a few facts:

    – The majority of soy products come from genetically modified soybeans and have a high level of contamination by pesticides.
    – Soybeans contain a high level of phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors which blocks the body’s uptake of essential minerals.
    – Soy milk contains isoflavones which act like estrogen, and can accelerate the onset of puberty.

    For more on how unhealthy soy products are, see

  4. I make my own Soda and mix with a little lime or lemon. Less plastic, cost, grocery transport. Start up is about $100 but pays for itself pretty quick. The unit I got was with Soda Club.

  5. Genetically modified food is safe.

  6. Where is coffee in this list? It has anti-oxidants (well, scientists argue over whether it does or not), no calories, and caffeine.


  7. @Sam — Yeah its safe until they find out it isn’t 10 years from now and I have a third hand growing in my stomach. Just like every artificial sweetener was “safe” at some point until people start getting sick.

    The human body can’t keep up with all the processed crap we are being fed. The country is obese from it, not because kids play video games or are online all day. Things like HFC’s are to blame.

    Avoid Orange Soda out of them all, it has the most sugar.

  8. I like half fruit juice and half sparkling water.

    My favourite is 1 part guava juice, 1 part mango juice and 2 parts sparkling water. Yum!

  9. You should also try Rice/Almond milk, often sold under the name Rice Dream or Almond Dream. They taste better than Soy milk IMO and are not genetically modified.

  10. Kool-Aid…if you still want the sugar but not the carbonation.

  11. This was a terribly unoriginal article, I can’t believe it got linked on Lifehacker.

  12. Be careful with fruit juices, they have a lot of sugar too. It may be “natural” but it’s still processed the same way by your body and can have the same negative health impacts.

    Generally, if I’m thirsty and craving orange juice, I’ll either drink a glass of water and actually eat an orange (less sugar, you still get the vitamins, and you get a fibre boost), or I’ll dilute OJ 50:50 with ice water.

  13. Diet Hansen’s. No sugar, no caffeine, no sodium.

  14. Blod Red Bull.

  15. Arizona’s “Arnold Palmer”! (Half Lemonade, half Iced Tea.) The History of it is on the can!

    Another one…
    ACE Drinks, canned by Hanson’s I think. It has it’s own website. Can looks like WWII ‘Nose Art’ w/ Pinups. The ‘diet’ is actually the best. Compare it with ‘Monster’, it’s way better and really more of a ‘kick’.

    Happy Guzzeling!!! -Stark

  16. Rooibos tea tastes like the devil’s spunk.

  17. Personally I drink soda still, but stay away from high fructose corn syrup which is in everything these days from your fav juice to ketchup. It’s not the THING itself that is bad to drink, it’s what is it in. Don’t blindly go drink grape juice or tea because it’s not soda. It might have the same amount of HFCS or sugar. Sugar free stuff isn’t that much better since it has some form of cancer causing sweeteners in it(sure i sound like a tin foil hat wearing crazy, but I family member die of throat cancer. Never smoked ever, but drank diet soda’s most of his life, hrmm what a coincidence). I just stick to stuff with natural sugar in it. Dublin Dr. Pepper, Mexican coke and apple juices.

  18. I’m liking Brain Toniq these days. It’s this new functional “think drink” that Leo Laporte has been raving about for the past couple months. I’m hooked. It really does work.

  19. My wife and I drink a lot of (non-citrus) juice mixed half and half with sparkling water. The juice at grocery stores is just awful – it’s full of added sugar. If you live in a bigger city or have a university nearby, there will probably be an eastern-european or Russian store around. They have fantastic juices (berry, cherry, apple, peach) with no or very low added sugars! Plus they just taste better than any US mass-market producers, in my opinion.

  20. Boo for lifehacker for this. Alternatives to soda? Walk down the beverage aisle. Original research.

    But yes, Rooibos FTW

    And chai, but not that starbucks swill.

  21. I can’t believe no one has mentioned kombucha! It’s expensive from the store, but you can make it at home too. Hits the spot when you want something bubbly.

  22. Diet Hansens and most diet soda has Splenda in it. Do some research on that. You are better off with real sugar.

  23. What? No generic non-sweetened iced tea? Iced coffee?

    Both brilliantly flawed ideal alternatives.

  24. Drinking just water at every restaurant meal saves me moolah, but my favorite recipe for alternative to soda pop is this:

    Fill a glass with fresh squeezed (not reconstituted) grapefruit juice, add some crushed ice, then fill with cold, canned lemon sparkling water.

    Great on a hot day.

  25. This is stupid. Drink water. Its delicious. It saves you money. Buy a Nalgene bottle and a Brita pitcher. Costs a little money but the nalgene lasts forever, and the filter in the pitcher lasts a few months. Also you’ll stop polluting as much and help the environment. If waters not for you just make green tea and add some lemon or lime juice, put it in the fridge. Delicious alternatives to soda. Done.

  26. water … boring? for me water = life

  27. @Brian: Yeah…sitting in front of a TV or just plain sitting down all day would never make anybody fat. Funny that most people in my office eat better than in college, fresh veggies, fruits, etc. etc. but seem to have gained 10 pounds. However, myself and a few other do this thing called exercise and we’re the only thin ones in the office. Go figure.

  28. horchata

  29. After reading the comments, I think I will keep the water and a beer time to time :)

  30. what? No one here has danced with Horchata? The original Mexican rice/almond/something drink?

    Bah… n00bz!

  31. @Dan:

    What about BPA? I /thought/ my Nalgene would last forever. They have BPA-free bottles now, but that’s only until they discover something else in the bottles that causes cancer…

  32. Anyone ever try Yerba Mate?

  33. @Dan: Nalgene bottles, unless purchased very recently, were made with polycarbonate plastics. These plastics contain Bisphenol A which numerous studies have shown to be very dangerous. It acts as an endocrine disruptor and is believed to mimic the action of estrogen on the body. Wikipedia has some good basic info.

    Avoid drinking or eating out of anything made from polycarbonate. It may be shatter-proof,

  34. Since I found Robinsons Sugar-free barley water (strawberry & kiwi flavour) I definitely get through around 8 glasses of water a day, or more.

  35. The vast majority of people don’t understand genetic modification. It is perfectly safe – it involves only the identification of good genes, then the breeding of these genes into the population. This has been going on for centuries! (you do it when you look for attractive people as a mate). If for some reason you believe that genetically engineered plants should be avoided, good luck. Pretty much every vegetable you currently eat is genetically engineering in some way – corn, beans, lettuce, etc. Even the “organic” veggies have most likely been made more genetically favorable by humans many generations prior.

  36. @Lungkisser: Agreed. This is droll.

  37. Drinking water with lemon or lime in it actually isn’t the best way to go…. it may make your water taste good, but it’s hell on your teeth.

  38. This is just too much. There’s a million things out there that are “bad for you”. I LOVE soda. It is my favorite thing to drink, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop drinking it out of fear of high fructose corn syrup. I don’t smoke or drink alchohol, I think I can be allowed my one vice of Pepsi without worring about shortening my lifespan. Just watch your intake of fried foods & candy bars (and brush your teeth), and you can enjoy a daily soda (emphasis on ENJOY– it’s worth it.)

  39. Bubble Tea has always been one of my favorites, though it can be pretty expensive compared to a soda.

  40. I have been using those Propel single-serving fitness water packs. I mostly drink water all day, but the Propel gives me a little flavor change-up.

  41. I really love Celestial Seasonings Zingers to Go. They are single serving packets of fruit flavored teas that you add to water. They are all natural, and contain no artificial sweeteners. Instead, they contain Stevia, which is just great as far as sugar substitutes go (occurs in nature, no-calories, no flipper babies). They are a little tough to find, but you can order them from several places online.

  42. Lipton, citrus, green tea – diet

  43. What about sodas like Boylan’s? Most colas from smaller manufacturers are made with cane sugar and are so much more balanced flavor-wise than Coke or Pepsi that I find myself very satisfied with a 12oz bottle (or less) with a meal.

  44. […] College Being [via Lifehacker] […]

  45. […] of you finding it a challenge to kick the soda habit, here are a few soda alternatives from the College Being […]

  46. Well, what i like to do is mix sparkling water with juice. Everyone says that Juice has the same amount of sugar as soda, but if you pour 3/4 sparkling water 1/4 juice, that’s only 1/4 of the sugar in soda. And it taste’s great, too.

    Also, if it’s the summer time, you can use the sparkling water/juice and add some fruits or mints into it, just to add different flavors.

    Just a thought.

  47. Just check out the guy’s site that bashes Soy products. Hmm… whacked out.
    Soy milk is safe, its been drank for hundreds of years in SE Asia.

  48. Around here we just love the Reed colas and keg, the product are here in case you don’t know them already
    and I’m not paid for this, I’m just a satified customer

    Also, on the issue of genetically altering our food, some folks in here have been misled in thinking that’s proven safe. Go there for real information free from commercials….

  49. I agree with Dan’s comment; Water in Nalgene bottle saves money and environment. PLUS it is the real style.

    I don’t agree that “beer has been shown to have similar benefits.”. Beer has lots of carbs, alcohol and yeah, water, nothing else; way different from red wine. Black beers like Guinness does have some health benefits (I read it in NYT)

  50. I guess i’ll be telling a lot of college graduates that when they drink beer it’s actually helpful to them! ;-)


  51. […] Inspiraton Alternatives to Soda […]

  52. […] Soda is probably one of the worst things you can drink. Maybe that is why it is so tasty. Here are some things you can drink that will be ten times more healthy for your body. College Being […]

  53. Another vote for Brain Toniq ( ). I’d tried it for the first time in February when a dorm room brainiac next to our room raved about it, and how it helped him focus and study. Since then, I’ve been drinking it steadily. Gave up on sodas and cokes. Once you get used to its focus effect, it’s tough to go back to drinking caffeine. I hear there’s a 20% off coupon: DIGG. I used it last week and it worked for me.

  54. I would ask how long you have studied in the field of nutritional health, since you are so eager to present a biased viewpoint. Also it would be more helpful if you cited individual references to back up each claim you make. To your credit, you do reference an article; however, it is likewise written on a bias and is based upon heresay, conjecture and bad science (I did follow through and read the articles).

    Really this goes to illustrate the lack of integrity put into journalism these days. e.g. if I chose to, I could write a very convincing article on how consuming beef is good for your health; and I could provide a list of scientific articles and editorials to back up the claim (as in this case).

    Fact however cannot be biased, nor can it be propagandized. Think again.

  55. Avoid aspartame. It’s in crystal light, diet soda, among other things… but there’s a reason why they put a warning on the package. A lot of people don”t correlate their symptoms to the aspartame they consume. I know there’s people who have drank diet soda & crystal light or equal & sweet & low for as long as they can remember — and they don’t have any problems from it. While it may appear that way, the toxicity of aspartame is rarely considered when things go wrong.

    Fluoride in the tap water=plaque in the brain, less aggression, and even a lower IQ. Perfect for controlling a population, eh?

  56. Hmmm…, better than Soda, try this. 3 parts lime juice, 2parts tequila, 1 part triple sec, 1 part grand marnier. Over Ice, salt or not, your choice. Great Rita

  57. BrainToniq gave me cancer.

  58. …good news…just got back from the Doctors office and it wasn’t cancer after all! My brain just got so huge from drinking BrainToniq they thought I must have had a tumor. Phew!

  59. […] it’s good to be back at my fav place.. havnt been posting stuff as of late coz of my crunched schedule.. anyways that of sharing this link across.. i liked the stuff but the surprise element is the last two.. how come beer and wine can be an alternative to soda.. i leave it to one’s vision.. but other than that it’s pretty safe out thr >> […]

  60. I love love love sweet iced tea. Like they make it down South!

  61. […] College Being – Alternatives to Soda […]

  62. […] * Ok enough of this ‘super prepared for college talk.’ It’s time to talk ‘college drinking.’ Looking for some fabulous future drink mixers? Chasers? Or simply a healthy drink to accompany your future study sesh? Turn to these tasties. […]

  63. […] suggests seven drinks to down instead of soda. Sparkling water, green tea and fruit juice made the list, but save the beer and wine for after […]

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