Drinking fewer sugary drinks

This page can help you if you want to drink fewer sugary drinks.

Your best chance of making a change is choosing something that's important to you. It helps to work on small, manageable goals to start with and to avoid trying to change too many things at once.

If you need help getting motivated to change, have a look at our page on why making healthy changes to what you eat is a good idea. It might also be useful to think about whether making healthy changes could save you money, time or help protect the environment.

Getting Motivated

Find out more about the benefits of making healthy changes to what you eat

More information on a healthy balanced diet
The rest of the page has tips on how you can make real life changes, whether you need help to take action, or use prompts to keep making the change.

Taking action

  • Set a clear goal (what do you want to achieve?) and make specific plans about what change you’re going to make to what you’re drinking and when you will do it.
  • Think about what might make it difficult to drink fewer sugary drinks and work out things you could do that would help.
  • Record your progress. Write down what you’re drinking, and progress towards your goal. It’s one of the best ways to stay on track.

Ash wants to drink less sugary drinks

Ash drinks 2 or 3 cans of sugary drinks every day at work. After seeing a post online about how much sugar is in these drinks, they’ve decided to try and cut back

Following the 3 tips above, Ash could;

  • Set a goal to cut down on sugary drinks and make a plan that when they are at work, they will only have one can of sugary soft drink.
  • Think about how it’ll be difficult to avoid sugary drinks on days when they’re tired, so plan to get some fresh air whenever they feel particularly tired
  • Use a tracker app to tick off every day where they’ve stuck to a single can of sugary drink.

Prompts to keep making the change

  • Keep water or low sugar drinks in the fridge so you can easily grab one. Put sugary drinks out of sight (e.g. in a high cupboard) to reduce temptation, or don’t have any in the house if you want to remove the temptation completely. If it’s sugar in tea and coffee that you want to cut down, put sweeteners next to the kettle and the sugar away in a cupboard.
  • Leave yourself reminders (e.g. a magnet on the fridge to remind you to pick a sugar free option, or a note next to the kettle to remind you to use sweetener). Noticing them in the moment will remind you to act.
  • Try buying sugar free versions of your favourite drink or drinking tea or coffee with half sugar half sweetener regularly for a week or two to build new habits. You might have to do it 20 or 30 times before it tastes ‘normal’.

Jo wants to drink fewer sugary drinks

Jo drinks fruit juice whenever they want a drink. Their dentist has advised them to cut back if possible. They decide they will try to swap fruit juice for water.

Following the 3 tips above, Jo could;

  • Buy a smaller amount of fruit juice, so that there isn’t so much choice in the house
  • Fill a jug or bottle with tap water every morning and try to drink from it throughout the day.
  • Drink water instead of juice once a day for a week and then try to increase it the next week.