People inevitably start to think of their glass as “half empty” when they’re asked to scratch certain beverages off their shopping list in preparation for the Whole30. No soda? No cream and sugar in my coffee? No alcohol!?! What the heck will I drink? The truth is, there are a wide variety of health-promoting and delicious beverage options for you to choose from during your Whole30, including a few you’ve probably never tried.
Instead of “no” this or “no” that, think in terms of what drinks you can say yes to. Like yes, I get to drink refreshing, herb-infused cucumber water and pretend I live at the spa. Or yes, there’s a chill in the air, the leaves are turning, and this steaming Snoopy mug full of bone broth is knitting me a warm, cozy sweater for my insides. So today on the blog, we’ll look at what you’ll be drinking when things like soda, alcohol, and coffee creamer no longer have a home in your grocery cart.
Don’t give up on water just yet…
“What can I drink besides water?” is probably on our top ten list of Whole30 questions. A lot of people see water as boring and tasteless, but aside from being one of the three things you need to actually stay alive, water is a very versatile drink. We recommend that you aim for about half your body weight in ounces each day, but remember, you aren’t stuck with just the stuff from the tap!
These gently carbonated waters are infused with subtle flavors from natural fruits like lime, apple, pineapple, or coconut. (Okay, that last one isn’t technically a fruit, but the coconut LaCroix was too delicious to leave out.) Whether you’re looking to break a soda habit or just hoping for a fun alternative to still water, LaCroix has options for everyone. We love that our Whole30 participants have so many flavors to choose from without worrying about added sweeteners or hidden ingredients.
Want to jazz up your drink? Check out the Whole30 Approved mocktail recipes on the LaCroix website! These fizzy, bright concoctions would make a great addition to your fancypants dinner party, backyard barbecue, or after-work me-time ritual (which maybe used to involve wine).
Flavor your own water by infusing it with herbs (like rosemary or mint), citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange), cucumbers, or other fruits like melon or berries. Freeze up some fun flavored ice cubes and drop them into a tall glass for an afternoon pick me up. You can even make water seem more special by creating these lovely floral ice cubes and filling up a beautiful carafe.
Mineral or Soda Water
Whether you’re looking to blend in at the bar or just want a little something bubbly, mineral or soda water are great go-to beverages. Pour some in a glass with ice cubes, garnish with a slice of lime or a few green olives, and voila! A mocktail that won’t be mocking you tomorrow morning. Mineral water in particular contains minerals (like calcium and magnesium) important for health, and provides you the opportunity to source these compounds without the fluoride and chlorine found in most municipal-sourced tap water.
Or try these cool drinks…
Many of your favorite hot tea blends can be turned into delicious iced teas as well. Fruity herbal blends and peppermint teas are particularly refreshing on a hot day. You can infuse your tea with fruit or a splash of fruit juice for an additional flavor burst, or just go with the traditional squeeze of lemon. As with hot tea blends, read your tea box labels and watch for hidden ingredients like soy, barley, or added sweeteners like stevia. (“Natural flavors” are fine here.)
We aren’t big fans of drinking your meals, but we approve of using vegetable juice as a nutritional supplement as long as it’s not a replacement for eating real vegetables. Just make sure your concoctions are far more vegetable than fruit, and beware that even some vegetable-only drinks (like those heavy in beets and carrots) may pack more of a sugar punch than you’re willing to add to your day. (Note, you’ll probably want to juice it yourself, as most pre-packaged “vegetable juices” are actually mostly fruit.)
Coconut water is a fine choice during your Whole30, although it shouldn’t replace your regular water consumption. It’s perfect for after an endurance-type athletic event, a hot day spent outdoors, or a special occasion (which may include “I just need something other than water right now”). The flavor of coconut water varies tremendously by brand, so you may have to try a few before you find the one you like the best, but we’re big fans of Taste Nirvana’s coconut water with pulp. Watch out for added sugars (some companies add fructose to ensure a consistent level of sweetness across their product line), but a bit of added fruit juice is fine.
Most people either love it or hate it, but kombucha can have many redeeming health qualities, including probiotic benefits if you make it yourself. Homemade kombucha is easier than it sounds, especially when you take Sarah Ramsden’s Fearless Fermentation online course, but store-bought compliant brands are easy to find. Opt for varieties that are not sweetened after brewing—while kombucha will have some naturally-occurring sugar, skip varieties that list sugar in the ingredients. (Again, fruit juice is acceptable here.)
Want something warm?
While we encourage conscientious consumption of coffee, it’s not off limits for your Whole30. (You’re welcome.) Many program participants are surprised to find that they actually enjoy black coffee, especially when it’s good coffee brewed well. To maximize the flavor and minimize the bitterness of your black brew, skip the canned coffee from the big-box store and look for small batch roasts with low acidity. Adding a small pinch of salt to your grounds before brewing can also reduce bitterness, while adding cinnamon or vanilla bean will give your coffee delicious but gentle flavor. You could also try the cold-brew method, and heat your coffee as needed.
Still missing your cream? Try Whole30 Approved nutpods, in three delicious (totally compliant) flavors. Finally, hazelnut, vanilla, and other flavored coffees are compliant for your Whole30 as long as there are no added sweeteners or other off-plan ingredients (we’re looking at you, Starbucks Via flavored blends).
Depending on which region of the world you come from, drinking hot tea can be social, ceremonial, ritual, spiritual, or medicinal. We encourage Whole30ers to have a cup of tea as a comforting ritual after a long day, or a healthier substitute for those dessert cravings. All varieties—black, green, white, and herbal—are permitted on the Whole30, just watch out for sneaky ingredients like soy lecithin or stevia leaf. We like rooibos teas for their naturally sweet flavor, but half the fun with tea is venturing out to find your own favorite. Looking for something new? Whole30 Approved Klio hand-picked Greek Mountain Tea is packed with antioxidants and a rich, smooth flavor. Add a wedge of lemon, some grated ginger, or a little coconut milk to complete the experience.
Whole30 Approved brewed chocolate drinks like Crio Bru and Choffy are a delicious way to add variety to your beverage rotation. Made from roasted and ground cacao beans (and sometimes other whole ingredients for flavor), they have a gentle, rich cacao flavor. As they are unsweetened, they don’t ring “hot chocolate” bells for most who drink them. Instead, you get to enjoy the fruity, spicy or earthy flavors of the individual beans and roasts.
Both delicious and nutritious, bone broth is like a warm hug for your insides. This flavorful liquid contains compounds important for a healthy gut and digestion, muscle repair and growth, a balanced nervous system, and strong immune system. You can sip on a much of broth at any time during the day for a satisfying and healthy drink; it’s especially helpful when you’re feeling under the weather. Make your own using the recipe in The Whole30 or order from a company you trust, like our Whole30 Approved pantry partners.