I need to confess it here and now.
I have a drinking problem.
That’s right. The problem REALLY all started about three years ago when I started counting macros. When you have only budgeted a certain amount for carbohydrates, you don’t want to waste them on soda or juice. Not that these things aren’t delicious, but you’re still hungry and now you’re out 35g carbs for your day (and you only get 165g to begin with!). Thanks, but no thanks!
So I started learning the true joy in drinking things other than water. Which, don’t mistake that last sentence, I LOVE water. But sometimes you just want to switch it up, you know?
To be honest, my love of calorie free drinks was spurred when I was about 20 years old and dating my first fiancée. His family did diet sodas. My first real diet love was Diet Dr. Pepper. To me it tasted as close to the regular soda as it could have, so it didn’t “taste like diet” to me. I loved it.
From there I gained an appreciation for Diet Coke Plus, which soon disappeared. I guess people just didn’t appreciate the added vitamins in a nutrient deficient beverage.
Vanilla Coke Zero was an equal favorite in college. I loved getting a 12 pack as a present from my close friends.
Even as a lover of diet soda, it was a pretty rare thing for me. It was never daily. It was 1-2 times per week. I’ve never been one to do anything excessively. I even had lots of diet soda expire because I wouldn’t drink it in time. Also, I’m aware that diet soda is terrible for you. But if it’s not a frequent thing, then I don’t see it as a major problem. Plus, especially during calorie deficits, it’s just a really great treat, you know?
For a little while, I went on a coffee kick. I still love coffee with all the sinews of my being. I would usually get a nonfat latte. I’d sweeten it with stevia, and my favorite part was the milk foam. To me, it was (is) a lot healthier than soda. But I had other priorities spiritually, so I gave it up and went back to soda.
Fast forward to working at Alpine in 2016, during the summer, where Swig was located right around the corner. Yikes. I own not one, but two refillable mugs from Swig, and their cookies are man’s greatest creation. But while tracking, I have to do my own sodas. So, I make my own Diet Dr. Pepper with Torani sugar free vanilla, and 1-2 tablespoons of coconut creamer. I can make it pretty close if the soda comes out of a fountain. I have been known to refill my DDP at a restaurant on my way back to work, and add my other stuff at work.
I wanted to share my other favorite zero or low calorie beverages:
- Low calorie hot chocolate (1 cup almond milk, unsweetened, 1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder, and sugar free peppermint syrup, or stevia)
- Bai drinks (Molokai coconut)
- Bai Bubbles (Waikiki coconut lime)
- Core drinks (tropical coconut)
- Vitamin Water Zero (pineapple coconut, strawberry lemonade, lemonade)
- Minute Maid Light
- Pero (3/4 cup hot water, ¼ cup almond milk [coconut milk is better], stevia)
- Tea (Yogi vanilla spice, Bigelow mint medley, Celestial candy cane lane, Celestial Bengal spice, or 1/2 Earl Grey and 1/2 warm almond milk)
- Protein water (70 cals each, pink grapefruit flavor)
- BCAAs (Optimum Nutrition fruit punch)
- Bolero (exotic flavor powder, add to water)
- Perk Chill (mint hot chocolate, 100 calories, at bedtime)
I’ve recently tried some IdealBoost water flavors: tropical punch was the best one. Coconut wasn’t very good; it tasted chemically. The hot chocolate and hazelnut hot chocolate are 10 calories each. They aren’t awesome tasting, but they can get the job done if you’re counting and need a sweet tooth fix.
The short of this is that I have come to appreciate beverages in the last few years. They bring me some guilt-free variety and joy. What are your favorite calorie free beverages?