Life Eat & Drink Soft drink substitutes that are healthy and tasty

Soft drink substitutes that are healthy and tasty

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Recent (and not so recent) research reports that fruit juices are as bad for us as soda – with both containing as much sugar and calories as the other. The reason is that fruit juice has the pulp and fibre stripped out, leaving a glass full of simple sugars.

So what drinks can we cheer about? Good question.

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listFor me, starting the day with a squeeze of lemon juice in half a glass of warm water is an excellent way to kickstart the digestive juices.

Whilst it tastes acidic, lemons are actually alkaline, and that gets a tick from those groups who say we need a diet 80% in alkaline foods to keep our bodies running at optimum operational standards. They’re also full of Vitamin C which boosts our immunity and combats ageing skin.


Next, charge your body with a wholefood fruit and veggie smoothie to set the foundation for your day. Blend together avocado, frozen banana, frozen blueberries plus coconut oil and water. This is packed with essential fatty acids, antioxidants and hypoallergenic ingredients. This breakfast smoothie is filling and satisfying and so thick you need a spoon to eat it!


Alternatively, if you are in a rush in the morning, try tossing your favourite fruit, nuts and seeds muesli into a blender along with some milk and frozen berries. Give it a whiz before you whiz out the door. This gives you all the fibre and complex carbohydrates you need at the start of the day, plus plant-based protein from the nuts and seeds. This is easy to digest because it’s been blended.


Send your taste buds off to a tropical paradise with a mango, mint and coconut water smoothie. This is a lovely light blend and makes for a great morning or afternoon tea. Add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper or chilli for a touch of spice and to keep the metabolic fires burning.

Whilst living in Brazil I became addicted to ‘acai na tagela’ (bowl of acai). Acai is a tiny purple-black berry picked from the Amazon jungle is packed full of antioxidants. The berry is quite bitter so guarana and other syrups are added but doing it yourself allows you to control the sweetness. You can buy acai powder and frozen acai from selected stores in Australia. Top with slices of banana and granola.


When in need of comfort food, instead of grabbing a bar of chocolate, I blend peanut butter, tahini, cacao nibs, cashews and a banana with some coconut water. This is a healthy ‘mars bar’ liquid style!

Fancy a dessert smoothie or midnight snack? I love blending a roasted sweet potato, usually left over from the previous nights dinner, with cinnamon and coconut cream. Yum.


Iced tea is a refreshing drink with minimal sugar.

On hot days, iced tea is a great way to add flavor to water and keep hydrated. There is an abundance of herbal teas to choose from to make ‘iced’ teas, but my current favourite is white tea with lemon, mint and cucumber. Make a big jug and keep it in the fridge to sip on over the day.

My good friend Jenn’s signature smoothie is savoy cabbage, pears and lime juice. It sounds weird but it tastes great which shows that you never can judge a recipe by the ingredients. So let your imagination go wild and create your own drinks. The key is getting the ratios right. A general rule of thumb is 40 per cent veg, 60 per cent fruit plus liquid.

‘Thickeners’ such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, psyllium husks and wheat germ are great because they also contribute nutritionally.

Nuts and seeds are great to toss in for flavour and plant-based protein or toss in some protein powder.

Meanwhile there are lots of different powders which taste great and are terrific nutritional supplements.


But, seriously, there is nothing wrong with an espresso or a glass of sparkling. For me, it’s all about moderation, not elimination. So eat, drink and be merry, because you know how the rest of that idiom goes…



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