Healthy Coffee Creamer Alternatives

By Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff
April 1, 2024

If you love coffee, like many of our staff, we have good news! You don't need to give up your cup of coffee in your morning routine for the sake of your health. As long as your body can tolerate the caffeine, coffee can have an important place in your healthy lifestyle.

Many of our dietitians, nutritionists, and staff love their morning coffee (so you're in good company) and we know how the ritual surrounding a cup of coffee, whether at home or at a coffee shop, is part of self-care.

The issue with coffee is more about what you put IN your coffee. There are plenty of delicious alternatives to coffee creamer and ideas for natural sweetener to give you the desired flavor and creamy texture to your coffee if you're not big on just straight up black coffee.

In this article, we'll cover what to avoid when it comes to your morning cup and good substitute coffeeshop order options to consider.

To make your coffee healthier at home, we've compiled some of our favorite ways to make your coffee creamier, a little sweeter, and add flavor without using the little pink and blue packets or the non-fat dairy creamers (that contain no cream) or the sugar-laden coffee creamer you'll find in the dairy aisle.

Do you learn better listening to a podcast episode? Listen to this topic discussed on our Ask a Nutritionist Podcast - Healthier Coffee Drinks.

What's So Bad About Coffee Creamers?

3 Creamer Ingredients.jpgPrior to commercial coffee creamer, most options for coffee were regular milk, dairy cream, and granulated sugar. If you wanted cream, you'd pour in a little half and half or heavy cream. In the 1950s, coffee creamer in liquid and powder form came on the market, offering coffee creamer alternatives that were dairy-free, low in fat, and some that were shelf-stable.

But unfortunately these commercially made coffee creamer alternatives to traditional creamer strayed from being real, whole food ingredients and were filled with refined and damaged oils with a long list of additives.

Here's the ingredients in a French vanilla coffee creamer: water, sugar, soybean oil, and less than 2% of micellar casein (a milk derivative), dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, cellulose gel, cellulose gum, natural and artificial flavor, carrageenan.

Unfortunately creamers loaded with ingredients like this are just not great for your health! Why ruin a good thing (your morning coffee!) with a bunch of added sugar and chemicals? The good news is we have plenty of delicious, simple ingredients as a coffee creamer substitute to make your cup the highlight of your day.

Coffee Creamer Replacement

 Healthy Coffee Creamer.jpg

Experiment with different combinations and report back with your favorite flavors! Here are some combos that we enjoy:  

  • 1-2 Tbsp. cream + 1 or 2 drops of stevia or monk fruit + a dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp-1 Tbsp. unsalted butter + drizzle (1/2 – 1 tsp) of maple syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp. coconut milk + drizzle (1/2 – 1 tsp) of honey + a dash of nutmeg or pumpkin spice

Simple Ingredients For A Healthier Cup Of Coffee

Some of our suggestions for healthier coffee creamer may be unfamiliar and may lead you on a scavenger hunt through the grocery store to find them. To avoid that confusion, here are tips on where to find them and more information that may inspire you.

Try mixing and matching some of these ingredients together for an absolutely delicious morning coffee. Try a bit of vanilla extract with almond milk and a dash of cinnamon or add a bit of sweetness with maple syrup and creaminess with a touch of butter.

Do you like the taste of a mocha? Mix a bit of chocolate protein powder and almond milk into your coffee, give it a good blend, and you'll find the taste to be delicious!

Heavy Cream

This is heavy whipping cream which you'll find in the dairy aisle. Adding cream really makes your morning coffee luscious! We recommend organic and grass-fed when possible.

Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is our favorite dairy free coffee creamer option to give our clients that need a dairy-free option. It has a creamy texture and healthy fat, which gives your coffee the mouth feel you would get with full-fat regular milk options. Looked for canned coconut milk in the ethnic foods section of your grocery store (never in the dairy aisle) and make sure you pick full-fat. Be mindful that coconut cream and coconut milk are different ingredients. Sometimes the contents in the can separate, but give it a quick spin in the blender before sticking it in the fridge and it should stay emulsified.

Unsalted Butter

Again, organic when possible, grass fed butter can be a great healthy fat to add to your coffee, helping to stabilize blood sugar and to give your morning coffee a creamy nutrition boost. One of our favorite brands is Kerrygold, which you can find in most stores.

Unsweetened Nut Milk 

Back into the dairy aisle for these milk alternatives, but be sure to look for the unsweetened milk as many products are absolutely loaded with added sugar. Looking at the ingredient list, try to find one with just nuts and water with a pinch of salt added. An almond milk or cashew milk without all the fillers, gums, and additives will be richer, creamier, and still have that nutty flavor, making them great dairy free coffee creamers.

MCT Oil 

MCT oil is a dietary supplement to help provide support for weight management and healthy energy levels. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides derived from coconut oil and can be nourishing to your brain, tissues, and energy levels. If you've ever heard of "bulletproof coffee" or "keto coffee", this is one of the ingredients you can add.

Coconut Oil 

Look for unrefined, organic coconut oil to be sure you're getting a good quality oil. This is often found near other cooking oils or near the nut butters depending on the store. 


Local and organic is the best option for your body and the environment. Find some at the co-op or natural food store near you, or straight from a beekeeper! If you're interested in learning more about its medicinal properties, listen to this episode of Ask a Nutritionist called Raw Honey vs Processed Honey.

Real Maple Syrup 

The name explains it, but just to reiterate, be sure you are buying the real deal and not high fructose corn syrup with "natural flavoring". We like maple syrup as a natural sweetener because it's a whole food containing trace minerals when you buy from a co-op, whole foods store, or farmer's market.

Liquid Stevia Drops 

Drop in your favorite flavor (English toffee, vanilla crème, hazelnut and plain are good coffee options) and enjoy! Stevia doesn't spike blood sugar like sugar does, so in small doses it's a great alternative.

Chocolate or Espresso Key Greens & Fruits

These are easy-to-mix, great tasting, nutrient-rich superfood formulas with the antioxidant power of 20+ servings of fruits & vegetables! Play around with the amount for the taste you want, but a half scoop of chocolate or espresso is a tasty way to start.

Collagen or Protein Powder

Speaking of up-leveling the nutrition of your coffee, you can also add a chocolate or French vanilla protein powder or an unflavored collagen powder to your coffee to give you a little protein boost. Follow this Protein Hot Chocolate recipe but add in coffee to make yourself a protein mocha - it's great hot or cold, if you are an iced coffee lover!


Vanilla extract or almond extract are a good option for adding flavors without added sugar. They add a natural sweetness without raising your blood sugar. A pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice are other sugar free ideas instead of the flavor syrups full of added sugars.

What About Oat Milk Or Soy Milk?

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the nutrition facts on oat milk and soy milk and whether they are healthy options to use for coffee creamers. Oat milk sure is popular these days and soy milk certainly blends smoothly into a latte.

Unfortunately, oat milk, even the ones without much added sugar, is still pretty high in carbohydrates because it's made from a grain and it's better to get your carbohydrate intake from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in their most whole form with a lot of fiber rather than in the liquid form.

In clinic, we recommend using soy products sparingly, if at all. Soy is genetically modified, can be difficult to digest, and has an estrogenic effect due to its phytoestrogen properties. Since there are many other choices for plant based milk options, we'd rather you choose one of those instead, just in case of any unwanted reactions.

What To Order At A Coffee Shop

coffee-shop.jpgA healthy life is about balance, so the joy of going to a coffee shop can certainly still be part of your lifestyle. Instead of ordering one of the sugary syrup-filled options, however, opt for something that still gives you the taste of coffee but with healthier ingredients.

Did you know that a medium flavored latte will often contain FOUR pumps of flavored syrup? That's about 35 - 40 grams of total carbohydrates in one cup.

Instead, start with a base: drip coffee, cold brew if you like something with ice, Americano (espresso diluted with a little water).

Add in your splash of milk if you like a creamer - most coffee shops have a variety of options: whole milk, half and half, heavy cream, coconut milk, or almond milk.

Bring your own flavor! Like the options mentioned above, if you like a little bit of natural sweetness in your coffee without all the carbohydrates and added sugars from the syrups and creamers, you could add in a bit of honey, dash of cinnamon, or a sprinkle of stevia.

Key Takeaways On Coffee Creamers

It is possible to enjoy your coffee without filling your cup with unhealthy creamers. Getting creative with your creamer is all about experimenting with the right combinations of plant based milk, like coconut milk or almond milk, swapping your skim milk for heavy whipping cream, and finding your favorite natural sweeteners, like monk fruit, stevia, or flavors like vanilla extract.

Our dietitians, nutritionists, and staff are all about the healthy swaps - have a favorite beverage you want to make healthier? Let us know and we'll give you some ideas!

Learn more about sugar and sugar cravings:

READ: Cutting Out Sugar? Where to Start?

READ: Supplements For Sugar Cravings

LISTEN: Why You're Craving Sweets - Ask a Nutritionist podcast

About the author

This blog content was written by a staff member at Nutritional Weight & Wellness who is passionate about eating real food.

View all posts by Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff


Shawn McLaughlin
What are your thoughts on monkfruit for a sweetener?
September 7, 2018 at 2:49 pm


That is okay to use as a sweetener. I wouldn't use it multiple times a day since it's still quite sweet it could cause you to want sugar. 

Susan baker
I love my coffee,what is the most healthy coffee,best creamer,and sweetener
January 18, 2021 at 9:49 pm


If you want to buy a store-bought creamer, look for one without a lot of added sugar or other additives. But we prefer using heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk and stevia drops. As for coffee, we always recommend organic.

Susan baker
where can I purchase healthy creamer, and sweetener for my coffee
January 18, 2021 at 9:53 pm


We'd recommend making your own using heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk and our flavored Stevia drops.

Lauri Paulson
Do you recommend oat milk for low carb/plant based diets? And if so, is there a recipe to make my own ? Ora particular brand that you recommend for purchase?

May 7, 2022 at 7:57 am


I do not typically recommend oat milk as a coffee creamer option.  Compared to nut milks oat milk is high in carbohydrates and does not offer much healthy fat.  In terms of brands, I do like the elm hurst 1925 nut milks.  That particular brand uses just nuts and water.  I really enjoy the unsweetened walnut nut milk from Elmhurst and the unsweetened almond milk from Elmhurst.
I am looking for the best choice for a coffee creamer having been given a diagnosis of Fatty Liver. I know choosing an unsweetened creamer is absolute, but can I use half and half? I have finally settled on Skim milk, but I just want real clarification regarding FL.
May 3, 2024 at 9:56 am


For fatty liver it is important to eat real food without processed carbs or added sugar. I’d recommend using a full-fat, organic canned coconut milk or heavy cream in the place of coffee creamers.
Thanks for the comment. Could you explain why Cocomilk or heavy cream is a good choice for FL? And also, comment about half and half -is it something I can use?
May 11, 2024 at 8:49 am


The reason for a little heavy cream or coconut milk is to get good fat in and stabilize blood sugar. To reverse fatty liver, it’s important to have balanced blood sugar and avoid sugar and processed carbs, so inflammation is reduced in the body. If you prefer half and half, make sure it doesn’t have any additives in it, and know that it has a little more lactose (the natural sugar in milk) than the heavy cream.

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