How I Quit Sodas for a Cheaper, Healthier Alternative

quit sodas

I loved sodas. I grew up with them. As many children of the 80’s, Coke and Pepsi were a mainstay of our lifestyle. Every trip to the beach included a cooler full of soda cans. Every dinner out was accompanied by a refillable glass of carbonated sugary goodness. Every night in front of the TV was spent sipping on a glass (or two, or three) of soda. In my teens my mom joined the bulk store movement (BJ’s in our case) and we would regularly haul home racks of 2 liter bottles to stock the pantry. As a young adult, I developed a fondness for Dr. Pepper and you could rarely find me without a glass or can in reach.

This is just the way things were. For many people, it’s the way things are today. Finally about 5 years ago, we decided to make a change. We wanted to save money, we wanted to lose weight. We didn’t want to just drink water. We finally found something that worked for us.

Do you want to kick the expensive, unhealthy soda habit? Keep reading.

First off, I drink a lot. I routinely drink 2 liters or more per day. Secondly, although I can certainly tolerate or even enjoy an ice cold glass of water, I wanted something with more flavor. Some people may be able to go straight to plain water, but not me. We tried Iced Tea, but the sugar or sugar substitutes still felt too unhealthy. While its not hard to keep a batch of tea on hand, I would often want to grab a bottle or glass and go and found we were out and needed to steep another batch. I wanted something I could have ready nearly instantly anytime.

Enter the SodaStream

The answer for me has been the SodaStream. It offers near instant prep, the fizzy goodness of soda and ultimate flexibility of flavors. I’ve tried several flavoring ideas (I’ll list some below), but my mainstay has been fresh lime juice. I enjoy the citrus flavor combined with the carbonation. Drop in a few ice cubes and you have a cold, refreshing drink at your fingertips at any time. We use the basic, no-frills soda stream with 1 liter bottles. I usually drink two per day and sometimes another in the eventing.

SodaStream Jet Sparkling Water Maker, Carbonator Not Included, Black/Silver
The SodaStream Jet, an economical starting point

Health Benefits of the SodaStream

Nutrition Info from Wikipedia

It’s no secret that sodas are unhealthy. Even diet sodas bring concerns around artificial sweeteners and their potential long-term impacts. The juice from one lime yields on average 2 Tbsp of juice, and no more than 20 calories, 7g of Carbohydrates and 1.1g of Sugars.

I usually use 1/2 juice worth of lime per 1L of water, so the values to the right actually account for 2 liters of water. Compare that to a 12 oz can of Coke at 150 Calories, 39g of Carbohydrates and 39g of Sugars. Now consider that it takes almost 3 – 12 oz cans to make 1 liter. What a difference!

Cost Benefits of the SodaStream

Next lets break down the cost benefits. Where we live, water costs $4.41 per 1000 gallons, that equates to roughly $0.001 per liter of water, which is basically free, but we’ll keep it in the equation. I’ll talk about the setup costs in a bit, but the recurring cost of a SodaStream is the CO2 bottle use to provide the carbonation. I pay $15.98 (including tax) for a trade-in at my local Target for such a bottle and a recent test showed that I get about 50 1L bottles from a CO2 bottle (note that the bottle says 60L, but I like mine on the fizzy side). So our cost for a plain bottle of carbonated water is $0.33 ($0.32 for the CO2 cost and $0.001 for the water – generously rounding up here).

Limes at my local store cost me roughly $0.33 each and I use half a lime per liter. That costs another $0.17 per bottle bringing the grand total per bottle to 50 cents.

Compare that to canned sodas at $3.99 for a 12 pack (and roughly 3 to make 1L) at a cost of $0.96 each or an “economical” 2 liter of soda at $1.79 or $0.90 per liter. We’re paying nearly half the cost for a much healthier alternative.

Now the obvious objection to the above math is in the startup costs of the SodaStream machine and the bottles. While there are fancy $120 starter kits and even exorbitant $200 models, we recommend the simple starter kit which includes a 1L bottle and a CO2 bottle. This eats up our $0.40 of savings for about the first 189 bottles or about 90 days at my normal usage rate. Everything after that is savings you take to the bank. Of course the health benefits start immediately.

It’s worth noting that we have not had any need to replace our bottles in the nearly 3 years we’ve owned them although the manufacturer recommends occasional replacement, but that may be an occasional cost to look out for down the road.

Flavor Options for the SodaStream

I’m a pretty simple creature and one of habit, so I don’t mind the lime juice flavor that I use on a consistent, every day basis. That said, I’ve tried several other flavors including lemons, oranges and the drop-in packets made for water bottles. I’m currently mixing in Propel drop-ins (we buy ours at Sam’s club) for about half of my bottles. Of course SodaStream makes flavored syrups in all the popular soda flavors, but they are costly and detrimental to your nutrition, so I won’t be covering them.

You might check out these other websites or this reddit to see more ideas for flavors for your SodaStream.

Conclusion

So if you want to kick to soda habit, whether to save a few dollars or to slim out your waistline, the SodaStream is a great option. It’s convenient, health and cost effective. Click the links above to get your SodaStream set up and have fun trying out some of the different flavors.

Cheers,
-SAM

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