Have you taken a good look at your cup of coffee lately? A few daily cups of coffee can help with mental clarity and provide a perfect pre-workout caffeine boost to help you push a little harder. CAUTION: that simple 5 calorie cup of coffee can turn into a calorie and fat monster with a few of these common mistakes.
Flavoring & Sweeteners
If your coffee order starts with a flavoring (vanilla, caramel, etc.), there’s a good chance that a heavy sugary syrup is being added to your coffee drink. These not only bulk up the potential sugar crash in an hour, but also pack on 100s of empty calories (calories that aren’t doing any good for your body). Some chains offer a flavor ‘shot’ option which only adds about 5 calories, but contains artificial sweeteners. While science can’t totally confirm these have negative effects, natural options are always better. Try to go for a little real sugar, honey, or agave. If you choose to go for a sugar substitute, Splenda and Truvia (made with stevia leaf extract) are the less dangerous options.
I like to flavor my coffee grounds with seasonal spices to make my coffee feel more indulgent without adding fat and calories. In the fall I sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice in my grounds before brewing, and more recently I add a little unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey fix.
The creamier you like your coffee, the higher fat content it will likely need. Fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it helps us feel satisfied (and helps prevent coffee staining on teeth!). Skim milk is the lowest calorie option, while half and half or heavy cream are the highest fat and high calorie options. I usually choose a low fat milk so that I can get the benefits of feeling satisfied while limiting calories. Almond milks have come a long way, but beware of artificial ingredients. Many flavored creamers also have added preservatives (aka chemical garbage) and higher fat content. Use these in moderation.
If a coffee looks and tastes like a dessert, we may want to consider it one. Skip the whip cream and chocolate syrup drizzles if you’re trying to watch your weight.
If you found this post helpful, please share it! I’d also love to hear any tips you have for brewing your best cup!