It’s time to kick the soda habit — for good

29812967 - drinks like cola, beer and lemonade in cansDid you know that the average American gets more than 20 percent of their daily calories from beverages, including soda? With all of the calories, sugar, artificial colors and flavors and caffeine, soda is not ideal for a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways to get starting on changing the daily soda habit.

Take it slow. If you’re used to drinking several cans of soda a day, start by reducing the amount you’re drinking over time. Set specific goals to get you to a point where you aren’t drinking it every day.

Drink water. Sparkling water can be a good substitute for water — you get the fizz without all of the extra ingredients.

Ask for support. Let your friends and family know about your new goal and ask them to keep you accountable. This can help build a support system and encourage you to stick to your word. Better yet, find someone who is willing to try and kick the soda habit with you.

Have a healthy snack on hand. We often turn to soda to fill us up when we should instead be eating real food to feel satisfied. If you keep a healthy snack with protein or fiber on hand, you can reach for that snack whenever you get that “empty” feeling. Mixed nuts, veggies and hummus, or string cheese are all great options.

Know your schedule. You probably have certain situations or environments where you’re more likely to drink soda. If you can identify when and where these soda triggers will happen, you can plan ahead and avoid falling back into your bad habit.