Some people wake up every day feeling fresh and new, ready to take on the world! For the rest of us, there’s coffee. Coffee is a part of our morning routine, and like a lot of Americans, we absolutely need it, otherwise, we just can’t wake up. There are a ton of delicious coffee options available from frozen drinks, to lattes, cappuccinos, and even our good old-fashioned brewed cup of joe. Coffee can be really quite healthy, it’s a source of antioxidants and helps to boost your metabolism. Unfortunately for most of us, that morning cup of joe can also be our dietary downfall. Coffee drinks, especially from our favorite café can be loaded with sugar and fat. So, here are five ways we can make our “wake-up and not hurt our annoying coworker juice” just a little bit healthier:
Make friends with brewed coffee and americanos
Most drinks from our favorite corner café are made almost entirely of milk, with just a few ounces of espresso. Think of those lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, macchiatos, mochas, fraps and so on (If you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask our barista!) We are basically drinking a cup of milk! Sluff off those calories by making a smart swap to brewed coffee, with only 10 calories per cup switching to brewed coffee can save hundreds of calories a day. If we miss the creaminess of a milky drink, just add a small splash of your favorite milk! We can even ask the barista to steam a splash of milk if we miss that delicious frothiness of a latte.
For our low-fat friends and carb haters
Did you know that we can swap out the milk to all of our favorite drinks? Every coffee shop worth its’ chops has non-fat milk for those of us who are calorie counting and want to trim some of the literal fat off their drink. Are we following the popular keto diet, or just going low carb? Get a splash of heavy cream in your coffee, or our favorite low carb non-dairy milk! Be wary, if we switch the milk out for heavy cream in a milk-based drink (see above) we could be drinking a calorie bomb, with possibly thousands of calories per order, again don’t be afraid to ask our barista any questions we promise they don’t bite… at least most of them don’t.
Ditch the whipped cream
Ditch it. We said it, and we have now made some enemies. That whipped cream that we all love can add an extra one hundred plus calories to our drinks. If we absolutely can’t live without it, try adding just a little bit less or ask if the coffee shop has any lighter options, like non-dairy whipped cream, fat-free, or maybe even try a cold foam on top made from non-fat milk.
Try Less Pumps of Your Favorite Syrup– or swap it for something healthier
For those of us who forget how to be a human as soon as we get to the counter to make our order, it can be daunting to try to alter our order even in the littlest way. We get blindsided, we forget our order, we don’t want to be seen as that person, you know the one… the person whose drink modifications take five minutes to say and it looks like the barista has written their psyche dissertation on the side of the cup by the time they’re through, but we promise it’s ok we can ask for half the amount of pumps of syrup. For most of our favorite drinks, we probably won’t even notice the taste. For some of the specialty drinks, anything where we hear at least two flavors in the name (i.e. peppermint mocha, salted caramel mocha, and anything that sounds like a cookie or a candy bar), we could be getting anywhere from 3-15 pumps of syrup in our drink, sometimes even more! Try asking for less of the syrup, remember every little thing counts! An even healthier alternative would be to ditch the syrup altogether and opt for a sprinkle of cinnamon (which lowers blood sugar!) or raw, unsweetened cocoa powder.
Ditch the Sugar
For a long time people thought artificial sugar was the devil, there were scares about cancer, diabetes, and plenty of other urban legends (this is still true for unnatural sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda). Nowadays, however, there are plenty of safe and natural alternative sugars like stevia, monk fruit, and xylitol. We can safely sweeten just about any beverage with these without any concern for negative side effects. When the matter comes to actual sugar we have very real concerns and mountains of evidence that sugar can cause problems like diabetes. So, when in doubt, swapping sugar for our favorite safe artificial sugars can save us some calories and keep your blood glucose levels in check. If we’re worried about missing out on your favorite flavors, many coffee shops are starting to make syrups out of stevia and flavored stevia can be bought to flavor our homemade coffee. Dieting and eating healthy can be hard, but often we don’t need to sacrifice our favorite daily pleasures. If we just make smart swaps, we can save hundreds of calories a day, those calories can add up to countless pounds over the years, or be reallocated to our favorite foods. Our local barista is there to help us and armed with just a little bit more knowledge we can take better control of our lives with just as much enjoyment.