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What Are Some Soda Alternatives?

Here is a list of non-soda beverage possibilities to consider. You'll notice the drinks that contain calories also contribute important nutrients like calcium or vitamin C.

1. Give Soy Milk a Chance. If you'd like to work in a serving of soy a day, give soy milk a try. Lots of brands and flavors are available. If calories are an issue, try one of the lower-calorie options.

2. Don't Skimp on Skim Milk. Skim milk is a great way to boost your intake of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. One cup of skim milk has only around 85 calories. The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends up to two servings a day of nonfat or 1% milk and fortified soy beverages.

3. Pimp Your Water. To an avid soda drinker, water can seem a little unexciting. One of the best ways around that is to add noncaloric flavors to your water. A sprig of mint or a slice of lemon or lemon will do wonders. If you like subtler flavors, try a slice or two of cucumber or a frozen strawberry.

4. Make Green or Black Tea Your New Drink Habit. Popkin says tea is a healthy alternative to water for people who prefer flavored beverages. Tea is calorie free and contains powerful phytochemicals like the antioxidant in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Great-tasting green and black teas abound in supermarkets and specialty stores. If you're cutting back on caffeine, look for caffeine-free teas.

5. Think Outside the Juice Box. Although 100% fruit or vegetable juice contains important nutrients, the Beverage Guidance Panel recommends having no more than one serving a day because they can also contain plenty of calories (about 100 in 1 cup of fresh orange or carrot juice). One way to cut those calories is by making a homemade juice spritzer: Combine one or two parts seltzer, mineral water, or club soda with one part 100% fruit juice (try fresh orange juice). Or try the new vegetable juice flavors in your supermarket, as well as fruit and vegetable juice blends. While they're not super low in calories, each serving contains a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetable.

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