How to Kick the Soda Habit

Getting rid of a soda habit is one of the best things you can do for your health. Sugary beverages are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, particularly because they pack a large number of calories in liquid form.

#1: Become aware of when you sip soda.

The first step to kicking the soda habit is to take stock of when you drink soda — you may even find it useful to keep a journal of your soda consumption. Figuring out your pattern will help you understand why you drink soda. Is it with meals? Do you drink soda socially, or as an afternoon pick-me-up? Do you sip while watching television? Once you’re aware of your soda patterns, you’ll know when to sub in a swap.

#2: Find a satisfying substitute.

The next step in breaking the soda habit is to find a substitute. Ideas for substitutes include sparkling water, plain water or fruit. To keep things exciting, you can try flavoring water with fresh cucumber and mint, or lemon and ginger. The key is to select a healthy substitute you enjoy. Whenever you have a craving for soda, plan to drink or eat this item instead. At first, making the switch will be challenging, but over time your tastebuds will adapt to the new flavors.

#3: Give it two weeks.

The final step is to pick a two-week period and start. For this two-week period, you commit to drinking your substitute beverage instead of soda. Mentally committing to two weeks at first is easier than going cold turkey on soda forever. If you are successful for two weeks, you can extend your effort for another two weeks and so on.

If you are not successful, try to identify why, and consider adjusting your goal. Perhaps it’s more realistic to get rid of one can of soda per day, instead of all soda. Each person is different, so the key is to make small changes that work for you. In the end, what’s most important is that you are taking steps to improve your health.

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