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Thinking about cutting back on sugary drinks? Set yourself up for success by doing it gradually, without making too many drastic changes all at once. 

Here’s a five-step plan you can try:  

1. Count how many sugary drinks you drink per week. Be sure you count coffee or tea if you add sugar to them.

2. Cut back one sugary drink at a time. For example, if you drink more than one sugar-sweetened beverage per day, start by eliminating one per day. After two weeks, set another goal to eliminate one more sugary drink per day. This gradual reduction eases you into the change and also helps you avoid the common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal (such as a headache, sleepiness or irritability) from some sugar-sweetened beverages.

3. Find healthier options you like. Ice-cold water is a fantastic substitute. If you like a little flavor, try sipping on flavored water, such as Dasani raspberry or lemon water, which has zero grams of sugar. If you need a bit more flavor, consider a zero-calorie, caffeine-free soda, such as Sprite Zero or Caffeine-Free Coke Zero, which contain no added sugar. These zero-sugar beverage options are offered at most Geisinger Foodservice locations.

4. Recognize your triggers and plan ahead to beat the cravings. Some people like to keep a bottle of cold water nearby at all times, while others chew sugar-free gum. We’ve even heard of people brushing their teeth to avoid sugar (that clean feeling in your mouth may make you less inclined to eat something sugary!). If it works for you, work it! 

5. If you’re a Geisinger employee, join myHealth Rewards. You can find a health coach who can give you even more ideas for rethinking your drink. Even better, you’ll save money on your healthcare premiums when you meet your health goals. (Seventy percent of folks enrolled in myHealth Rewards do meet their goals, after all!) Register here: gh.wellness.geisinger.org
sugar unwrapped