Healthier Coffee Drinks - Ask a Nutritionist

November 17, 2023

Coffee and coffeehouse drinks are full of sugar. Tune into this week's episode of Ask a Nutritionist with Britni to learn about healthier alternatives for coffeehouse drinks and sweeteners, and how small changes in your coffee routine can significantly reduce your sugar intake, save you some money - and still remain just as delicious.

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BRITNI: Hello and welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition's midweek segment called “Ask a Nutritionist”. I am Britni Vincent, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. On today's show brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness, I will be answering a nutrition question that we have received from one of our Dishing Up Nutrition listeners.

The question is, “I have a question about coffee and espresso. I have heard you say many times how many teaspoons of sugar are in the coffeehouse drinks. Do you have any suggestions of ingredients to use when making coffeehouse drinks and coffees at home?” This is a really great question; happy to answer this because I think it will help a lot of listeners out there.

Organic coffee is recommended

Not only will it allow you to reduce your sugar intake, it's also going to save you some money too. So first, I want to just mention that when you're purchasing coffee or espresso beans, you want to make sure that they are organic because coffee is one of the most chemically treated plants produced, meaning that coffee that is not organic is just full of farm chemicals. So really making sure that your coffee or espresso is organic is the best option. 

Water processed is recommended for decaf coffee

And then if you do drink decaf coffee, I would look for a decaf that says that it has been water processed. If it hasn't been water processed, then a lot of chemicals are used to decaffeinate the coffee. So choosing water processed for decaf is best.

Healthier coffee options

So let's dive into more specifically the listener's question. And I've got a lot of options here, just depending on your preference. I think that for a lot of my clients, what has worked really well is just switching to coffee with heavy whipping cream. And then if you want something sweet in there, you could use stevia or monk fruit. There are flavored stevia drops out there. So you could make your, make your coffee tastes like caramel or chocolate or English toffee or vanilla. There's tons of options out there. So that would be something to look at.

Shop Stevia Drops

Another option instead of the stevia or the monk fruit is you could use either the chocolate or espresso flavored Key Greens and Fruits powder that you can find on

Shop Key Greens and Fruits Powder

And then if you add that with the heavy whipping cream, it really makes your coffee taste like a mocha. And I would play around with how much of the greens that you like. I personally think a quarter to a half a scoop of the Key Greens is sufficient to get that kind of mocha flavor, but that is a delicious option as well.

You could make with the heavy whipping cream, you could make like a big batch of your own creamer. And adding some vanilla or some almond extract. You could also add or in place of the vanilla and almond extract, you could add cinnamon or nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice could be an option. You could just have that made for the week in your fridge, ready to go. And the vanilla and almond extract, those provide some sweetness without actually adding sugar. And then same with the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Those are some nice options instead of adding sugar.

So if you are somebody that is dairy free, or you just don't like the taste of heavy whipping cream in your coffee, I've got some other options that will also make your coffee more creamy. Canned coconut milk works really great. And, and I think this works a lot better than the carton coconut milk because it's thicker, creamier. You could also use coconut cream, which is even creamier than that canned coconut milk. Some people like a scoop of coconut oil in their coffee or a scoop of unsalted butter in there.

A nut milk would be an option, and when you're looking to purchase a nut milk, I would really look at the ingredient list because a lot of them have a whole lot of fillers and gums and additives. The nut milks can have a long list of ingredients. So trying to find one that just has the nuts and water, or if there's some salt added in there, that would be fine too. So really just two or three ingredients is what you're looking for. And they taste a lot better. They're richer. They're creamier. You can actually taste the flavor of the nuts. So that would be a great option.

I would recommend, I know that oat milk has become really popular and yes, it does taste good, but I would not recommend the oat milk because even the ones that don't have any added sugar, they're still pretty high in carbohydrates. And so I think that some of these other options are going to be much better for you. If you are somebody that likes more of the latte, then you could get a milk frother. There really, you can get one pretty affordable online. And then you could froth your own milk at home. Again, those nut milks would work. Or if you do tolerate dairy, you could use whole milk as an option.

And we do have a couple recipes on our website that you could try out to replace some of those coffee house drinks. We have a protein hot chocolate recipe on our website, And then that one, you could just add coffee to it and that would be delicious served both. It's hot like the hot chocolate and that would also be delicious served cold too, like an iced mocha option.

We also have a recipe on our website for a pumpkin spiced coffee and that would be a delicious option. You could also, you know, if you're making your own latte at home, another option would be, you know, instead of the. hot chocolate recipe in there, you could replace the chocolate part and add some canned pumpkin in that recipe. So you've got the protein, you've got some canned pumpkin, and then you could add the coffee to it. So it's like a pumpkin latte. That would be really delicious, especially this time of year with the fall weather.

I hope that I provided you some great options that are realistic for you to do at home, and sometimes it's a little bit of trial and error just to see what you like best. And I will say this, if you're used to drinking your coffee really sweet, that over time, your taste buds are going to change, and you're not going to need that sweetness. And so, you might find that some of these options you would like better kind of down the road after you have reduced or eliminated that, that sugar from your diet.

And I did do another “Ask a Nutritionist” podcast on “How Does Caffeine Affect the Body?” And so if you're interested in learning more about that in regards to coffee, then that one was from April, 2023. So thank you so much for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition's “Ask a Nutritionist”. If you have a nutrition question you would like us to answer, we invite you to join our Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook community by searching Dishing Up Nutrition on Facebook.

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