Cut out the soda. I know you’ve heard this and it is hard, but it should be your first priority for about a million reasons. There are so many things that are bad about soda – the sugar, the sodium, caffeine, the artificial colors, artificial flavorings. Kids don’t need soda. Now, I’m not saying I never let my kids have soda. If they are at someone’s house and they’re offered one or we are out to eat, I certainly let them have one if they want one. But I don’t keep them in my house as an option for them to drink at home. That’s the bottom line – if you don’t buy it, they can’t drink it. I know it will be hard (especially if you are a soda drinker), but it must be done.
Here’s two great reasons, other than health, for cutting out the soda – One, it will save you lots of money. You will be shocked at how much lower your grocery bill will be if you cut out the soda. Even on sale, we spend fortunes on it. And two, you’ll lose weight. Many people drink soda like water and the calories add up. Even if you drink diet soda – you’ll still lose weight. This was a pleasant surprise I discovered when I finally gave up my beloved fresca. I’m not sure if it was the sodium or the sugar cravings that ensued from drinking diet soda, but when I dropped the diet soda, I dropped about five pounds!
Water or watered down organic juice, local cider (in season) or milk are the options kids have at my house. Soda has never been an option. One of my kids chooses water over any other beverage, even at a restaurant. We do make lemonade in the summer (from real lemons) and when we visited the grandparents in Florida we made real orange juice from the oranges on their trees and brought back as much as we could carry. If you just can’t bear to part with it, there are expensive organic versions of soda. I’ve bought these on special occasions and they go over just fine, especially the root beer. A pitcher of ice cold water in your refrigerator has more appeal to kids than you would expect. It's much more special than ordinary tap water. Try it. If you want to get fancy (or you're on city water), add some lemon or lime slices - even better.
Giving up my soda habit was not easy. Diet soda was my water for years. These days I drink tea all the time. I keep a pitcher of cold home brew tea in the refrigerator at all times and I enjoy experimenting with new teas. I try to stick to green tea as much as possible because of its many health benefits. Instead of thinking of how hard it will be to give up soda, start thinking of all the alternatives you can choose instead.
A word about caffeine – it’s a drug. It really is. If you don’t believe me, try giving it up. But do give it up if you can. I promise you’ll sleep easier and discover you don’t need as much sleep. You’ll be healthier, happier, and the people around you won’t be victim to your caffeine fueled mood swings. You don’t need it and if you’re determined to be healthy – give it up. Don’t start your kids on the bad habit either. You have the power to get them off caffeine now – use it.