I’ve never been one for fizzy drinks, but over the past few months I’ve developed a taste for Diet Coke which starts rearing its ugly head at around 2pm every afternoon. Whilst my can a day might not be making me fat- despite the chemicals Diet Coke contains very few calories — it turns out I might be increasing my risk of heart disease; a recent study of over 60,000 middle-aged women showed that people who regularly have two or more diet soft drinks a day could be more than 50% likely to die from the condition. Gulp.
This got me thinking about alternatives to Diet Coke. A diet drink habit is not only unhealthy, but also pretty expensive to maintain- we’ve all heard the stories about addicts spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to feed their cravings for fizzy drinks. So here are five soft drink substitutes which are not only refreshing but also kinder on your wallet.
No one in the UK really drinks iced tea, but this recipe for sparkling tea is something I could really get on board with- especially since it contains almost no sugar and you can make it using your favourite blend. You will need:
–Two herbal teabags- I like Twinings Cranberry and Pomegranate
–Sparkling mineral water
Brew up your two teabags in three cups of boiling water and leave to chill. When it has cooled, add one cup of sparkling mineral water and flavour with honey to taste. Voila! Instant sparkling tea with none of the nasties of Diet Coke. Make the night before so that it is easy to prepare the next morning, and try using a variety of different types of tea to see which one you like best.
Fresh fruit juice might be high in natural sugar, but it is also bursting with nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and zinc. So rather than bombarding your body with low-calorie but nutrient-free fizzy drinks, follow this recipe for a fresh juice and sparkling water drink- it will keep your calorie count low but is as refreshing as a can of coke. Ingredients:
–100% fresh orange juice
Simply pour equal parts orange juice and sparkling water over ice cubes in a large pitcher. Serve immediately with a slice of fresh orange. It really is that simple!
Martha Stewart is the undisputed queen of all things homemade, and her recipe for pineapple-mint infused water is an easy way to enjoy flavoured water without any of the sugar that you get with supermarket brands. It isn’t fizzy, but it is delicious. You will need:
–8 to 10 mint leaves
–Â¼ pineapple, peeled and cut into triangles
Fill a pitcher with eight cups of water and add your pineapple and mint leaves. Place in a fridge and leave to cool for at least three hours, and then strain before serving.
You might remember making lemonade as a child, but just because you have grown up it doesn’t make this drink any less delicious. Whilst the recipe does require sugar to neutralise the bitterness of the lemons, I’m pretty sure it’s better for you than the artificially sweetened soft drinks you find in a can. Ingredients:
–Four unwaxed lemons
–175g golden caster sugar
Cut each lemon into eight, and blend with half of the sugar, 500ml of water and ice cubes, then strain into a pitcher. Blend the leftover lemon pulp with the rest of the sugar and another 500ml of water, plus another handful of ice cubes. Strain again into the pitcher and serve. Yum!
Diet coke has an undeniable caffeine kick, and sometimes this just can’t be recreated with an orange spritzer. So to spice up a boring cup of coffee — and save money on takeaway Frappuccino’s- try this recipe instead. Make in advance and the brewed coffee should last 3-4 weeks in the fridge. Ingredients:
–Good quality ground coffee
–Eight cups of water
Stir coffee and water in a large container (that’s right, don’t boil the water first), cover and refrigerate for 6 hours. Then filter the mixture, cover and store it in a fridge- this should keep for just under a month. When you are ready for your cup of coffee, pour the coffee mixture over ice until the glass is about Â¾ full, then add sugar and milk to taste. Perfect for a hot summer’s day!
I’m not sure it’s going to be easy to kick my Diet Coke habit, but I’m feeling hopeful that at least one of these alternatives will help me try. What’s your favourite homemade fizzy drink?