Tips to save money on drink items and help make your grocery budget stretch.
Growing up, we were not allowed to have soda until a parent had cut it in half with water. This helps not only your budget, but the calorie and sugar content. Nowadays you can find soda for about 25 cents a can, but here are some healthier versions.
Note: 25 cent a can soda at your local grocery store (generic brand), or discout/Dollar stores and places like Grocery Outlet.
SODA or SOFT DRINKS
Easy to Make Soda
Kool-Aid™ – Add a packet of Kool-Aid™ and 1/3 cup sugar, agave syrup, or 12 packets of artificial sweetener to a litre/quart of club soda. Stir (do NOT shake!) to mix. You may want to put the container in a bowl in case it foams up and bubbles over.
Check the label to be sure the club soda is just carbonated water with no sodium, sugars, or other additives.
Juice – you may use your leftover maraschino cherry juice and reduce the added sugar from 1/3 cup. You may also add cranberry (or other) juice to the plain club soda.
Extracts – add a capful of your favorite flavor extract – lemon, orange, root beer, raspberry, vanilla (for cream soda) etc. to the plain club soda and add the sweetener of your choice: 12 packets artificial sweetener, 1/4 cup sugar or honey or agave. You may add a few drops of food color if you like.
This could be a fun activity at a children’s party if you put out the plain club soda and let each child flavor their own glass as they wish. Pre-measure the sweetener (into a recycled fruit snack cup*) for each child to add, or sweeten the club soda ahead of time. Be sure each child has a spoon to stir and remind them not to shake if they try this at their own home.
* The small plastic pillbox size containers at your local discount store are labelled NOT for food storage.
Reminder: Don’t forget to re-label your containers after flavoring your drink.
In a small saucepan add: 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar or agave nectar or 12 packets of artificial sweetener, and a packet of Kool-Aid™. Heat until sugar melts. Store in a plastic bottle in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
Use 1/2 bottle for Easy to Make Soda (quart or litre bottle), or add 1 bottle to a 2 quart pitcher of water for drinking.
Note: I keep several lemon flavor of these in the fridge during the summer for quick lemonade.