10 Healthier alternatives to alcohol and soft drink by Tania Logan, Dietitian and Diabetes Educator

Ilze GroblerDietetics

We need to keep well hydrated to keep our body working well. It is important to choose water instead of drinks with added sugars, such as soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks or alcohol. These drinks contain lots of sugar and extra energy that can impact on health, weight and blood glucose control.  

Sometimes we need something different to drink, so aside from water, what are some healthy options to include as alternatives to soft drink or alcohol?

Tea and coffee provide fluid, although they are not suitable for young children and large quantities can have unwanted stimulant effects in some people. You can choose diet soft drink or make a mocktail.  Unfortunately, many drink recipes require special ingredients or equipment, take time and effort, or make large quantities.

These are my top 10 healthier drink options for you to experiment with.  They are quick and easy and are made from readily available ingredients.  

Whatever you choose to enjoy, make it special by using a nice glass and adding some ice cubes or crushed ice.  Adding a simple garnish will also make it feel like you are treating yourself. 

1.Soda, Lime and Bitters

This is a simple twist on lemon, lime and bitters which is made with lemonade and lime juice cordial, both of which are high in sugar and extra energy.  This version substitutes soda water and can be a great option to order if you are out.  If you are making it at home use 10 – 15 ml of diet lime juice cordial, a dash or two of bitters, then fill your glass with soda water or other sparkling water.  You can also try fresh lime juice instead of cordial.  Garnish with a slice of lime.

2. Sparkling Iced Tea

This is an easy option if you enjoy herbal or fruit flavoured tea.  Start by making up a strong cup of your preferred tea (2 tea bags to 1 cup) and allowing it to cool.  Pour the tea into your glass with ice until it the glass is approximately half full.  Top with sparkling water.  You can garnish with a slice of lemon or strawberry, or a sprig of mint – whatever you have available.

3. Cranberry, Lime and Soda

This is so easy and delicious.  Fill your glass approximately one third of the way with cranberry juice.  Add a squeeze of lime juice and fill with soda water or other sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of lime or strawberry.

4. Cucumber Sparkle

This recipe has become a favourite in our household after trying cucumber flavoured mineral water.  It is really easy and refreshing during summer.  Place 3-4 slices of cucumber in a glass and top with sparkling water.  Garnish with an additional slice of cucumber.  It is that easy!

5. Berry Sparkle

Place 5 – 6 frozen berries or cherries into a glass.  Top with sparkling water.  You can also use fresh fruit – just remember to pit the cherries if you are using fresh ones. Garnish with a slice of strawberry or a fresh or maraschino cherry.

6. Sparkling Citrus

Fill your glass approximately one third of the way with fresh orange juice, then top with sparkling water. You can add a squeeze of lime juice if desired. Garnish with a slice of citrus fruit.

7. Sparkling Sunrise

Half fill your glass with fresh orange juice or 100% pineapple juice.  Top with sparkling water or diet lemonade.  Add ½ tsp grenadine – this will give the drink a beautiful sunrise appearance. Garnish with a slice of strawberry, pineapple or citrus fruit.

8. Tropical Sparkle

Scoop the flesh of 1 passionfruit into a glass.  Fill the glass with equal parts coconut water and sparkling water.  Add a squeeze of lime juice and garnish with a slice of lime.

9. Get Your Mojo Back

This is a simple, non-alcoholic twist on a Mojito.  Add the juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp of sugar and 6 – 8 mint leaves to a glass.  Stir to combine, gently bruising the mint to release the flavour.  Top with sparkling water and garnish with a slice of lime.

10. Shirley Temple

This is an easy, classic mocktail.  Add 1 tsp of grenadine to a glass with a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice. Top with diet dry ginger ale and garnish with a fresh or maraschino cherry.

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