Many people who think they’re addicted to soda are attracted to either the caffeine or the carbonation in the drink. You can get caffeine from coffee and tea (lightly sweetened or unsweetened), and you can get carbonation from seltzer, flavored or otherwise.
For many people, the shift to seltzer, club soda or sparkling water is life changing. It turns hydration into a small treat that’s still calorie-free. Buy yourself a seltzer maker, as I have, and gorge on the stuff at home, while saving money. Or buy fizzy water in cans or bottles. Sales of carbonated water have more than doubled since 2010, with the brand LaCroix now offering more than 20 different flavors, all without added sugar.
If they’re not sweet enough for you, you can also add a dash of juice to plain seltzer. But many people find that they lose their taste for soda after giving it up. And many Americans are giving it up: Since the late 1990s, sales of full-calorie soda have fallen more than 25 percent.
There are two main strategies to ensure that breakfast doesn’t become a morning dessert. The first is for people who can’t imagine moving away from a grain-based breakfast, like cereal or toast. If you fall into this category, you have to be quite careful, because processed grains are often packed with sugar.
A few grain-based breakfasts with no or very low sugar:
- Cheerios. They’re quite low in sugar.
- Plain oatmeal. Flavor it with fresh fruit and, if necessary, a small sprinkling of brown sugar.
- Bread. A few breads have no sugar (like Ezekiel 4:9 Whole Grain). A longer list of brands have only one gram, or less, per slice (including Sara Lee Whole Wheat and Nature’s Own Whole Wheat). Authentic Middle Eastern breads, like pita and lavash, are particularly good options and a growing number of supermarkets sell them.
- Homemade granola. You can also make your own granola and play around with the sugar amounts.
But there is also a more creative alternative. Move away from grain-based breakfasts. If you do that (as I have recently, after decades of eating cereal), avoiding added sugar is easy. My new breakfast routine actually feels more indulgent than my old one. Most days, I eat three or four of the following:
- Scrambled or fried eggs
- Plain yogurt
- A small piece of toast
- A few nuts
- A small portion of well-spiced vegetables, like spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes.
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