If you are trying to kick or reduce your soda habit, you may be looking for alternative beverages to drink. You may want the sweetness of soda, desire the kick of the caffeine, or miss the mouthfeel of the bubbles. We’ve gathered a list of 5 beverages that are better for you than soda, and they taste great too. Patients who have had gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery may consider including these beverages in their post surgical diet, especially in place of sugar laden soda.
There are so many types of tea, it’s easy to find one that fits your taste. From fruit flavored herbal teas, peppermint tea, matcha tea, green tea, to orange pekoe, the choices seem endless. Tea is rich in antioxidants, and can be enjoyed hot or cold, caffeinated or decaffeinated, with lemon, or milk, or plain. Tea by itself is naturally calorie free, but watch what you add if you are being mindful of your caloric intake. While you shouldn’t drink tea all day long, adding in a cup of tea can be a welcomed change in flavor.
2. Sparkling water
Sparking water can offer the bubbles that some people crave while limiting calories and many harmful chemicals often found in soda. Sparking water is now available in different flavors, such as lemon, lime, coconut, orange, and a variety of other fruit flavors and combinations. While sparking water does still have carbonation, it is far less acidic than regular or diet soda. Some post surgical patients, especially gastric band patients, may not be able to tolerate the bubbles in sparkling water when choosing it in place of a non-carbonated beverage.
3. Coconut water
Coconut water products have been popping up on the market lately. Not to be confused with creamy coconut milk, coconut water is a thin, clear, slightly sweet and nutty flavored liquid that comes from the middle of young, green coconuts. It has less than 50 calories in an 8 ounce serving, 9 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fat, and includes beneficial compounds such as fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium, as well as enzymes that are not found in soda. Coconut water does naturally have sodium, so be sure to read labels and be mindful if you have a sodium restriction.
Skim milk can be a great source of protein with less calories than soda. Skim milk offers 91 calories in an 8 ounce serving, and includes 8 grams of protein, in addition to calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. If you are lactose intolerant, many lactose free milk options are available. For those who can not have dairy altogether, unsweetened soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk are available. While these options usually have less protein than skim milk, they are often a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and D, making them more nutritious than soda.
We couldn’t leave water out, could we? It’s always calorie free, widely available, can be enjoyed cold or hot, quenches thirst, and most importantly it’s what your body needs. If you would like to add a little flavor to your water, consider adding a wedge of lemon, lime, or orange, or even a strawberry or frozen pineapple for a lightly sweet flavor without adding a ton of calories.
Soda can be a tough habit to break, but it can be one of the best things you can do to improve your health. For gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients it is important to make every calorie count. Post surgical diets should be low in calories, but you still need to get the nutrition your body needs. Replacing soda with tea, sparkling water, coconut water, milk, or plain water can help improve your diet and reduce overall calories.
The above is offered by the staff of Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in adjustable lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass surgeries. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric weight loss practice is located in Boca Raton, Florida and serves patients from all over South Florida including Coral Springs, West Palm Beach, Miami, Wellington, Naples, and Fort Lauderdale. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric patients often ask about ways to reduce calories in their diets, including limiting and stopping soda.