10 Kicky Drinks Without the Caffeine
At one point or another, you may find yourself needing to cut caffeine from your diet (or at least scaling way back). While it may initially be a shock to your system to forgo the rush from your favorite coffee variety, I find that it also gets a little boring. As a tribute to all those who have had to do without, I give you 10 drink-worthy options without the jolt.
OK...so this one’s a gimmee. But we are way past the days when decaf came in one flavor. Many gourmet coffee roasters (Boca Java for one) give you just as many decaf options as the regular stuff. They smell and taste great, and you may not miss as much as you think.
Here’s another easy substitute. While they are getting more difficult to find in some areas, many of your most popular colas carry a caffeine-free version. But many will just ask, “Then why bother?”
Watch this one for calories, but it is an awesome little drink you can make at home. With sugar-free syrups in all the best flavors (I love hazelnut), you can whip one up with the recipe below:
4 tbsp. flavored syrup (Torani rocks!)
3/4 c. milk (half and half is richer)
Carbonated water (club soda works well)
Mix the syrup and milk in a tall glass. Add carbonated water and ice until the glass is full. (Don't try mixing the ingredients in any other order or the milk will curdle.)
I personally am not a milk-lover. But 8 oz. of skim, with a few tablespoons of Ovaltine, goes down smooth and gives me a few extra vitamins and minerals.
Club Soda Spritzers
If you don’t like drinking the stuff straight, you can add a little lime or lemon juice to a glass of club soda over ice. Other great mix-ins include fruit juices and frozen fruit (blueberries, anyone?).
Hot or cold, tea can be a unique way to drink. Make sure your variety comes in decaf, and you can choose from chai, sweet tea, Chinese teas, green teas, English teas, or make your own using a diffuser and some dried chamomile or lavender.
Yes, you can drink your vitamins. And there are some tasty brands out there that fizz a little when you add them to your water. Loaded with vitamin C and B complexes, you can get a little pick-me-up in a healthy way. (This is perfect for those who are little less than diligent about taking their vitamins.)
Remember drinking apple juice with your graham crackers in preschool? Well you can forgo the crackers and just enjoy a nice cold glass of apple, grape, or a blend of fruity goodness! Check your labels to be sure that you aren’t just consuming a bunch of high fructose corn syrup and flavored water. (And if you’re watching calories, add some water and ice to your juice.) Fruit juice counts as a 1/2 to one full serving of fruit, so you are really getting a good deal here.
Nope. I’ve never been a V8 fan, and you’ll never see me drinking Clamato. I will, however, drink those new blends on the market that combine fruit and vegetable juices together. Made with carrot juice for a full serving of vegetables, it’s a sneaky way for me to avoid caffeine AND eat better. (And just like the fruit juice caveat, be sure you are getting 100% juices in your drink.)
Who could forget the water? The healthiest and cheapest choice by far (unless you go bottled), getting your daily water intake will keep you far away from the ticks and pains that can sometimes accompany caffeine withdrawal. Jazz it up with a fresh mint leaf or an orange wedge.
Whether you're ditching the buzz for health reasons, or just feel the need to cut back a little, now is a great time to make the switch to unleaded. Here’s to slowing down and drinking it all in!