September 29th is National Coffee Day! For many people (me included!), coffee is an essential part of their morning routine. And let’s face it, there are so many ways to prepare or order coffee, some people enjoy it black, while others add milk, cream, sugar, or flavorings (hello pumpkin spice latte season!). Coffee can be a trap for added sugar which can add to the “crash” some people may feel a few hours after drinking it. Whether you make your coffee at home or go to your favorite local coffee shop, here are some ways to maximize flavor and minimize added sugar to make the most out of your morning fuel:
- If you enjoy black coffee, stick to it: Black coffee has no added sugar or cream making it an almost zero-calorie drink.
- When adding flavors to coffee, think spices: Household spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cacao can be added directly to coffee grounds before you brew them. Seasoning your coffee with spices provides additional flavoring without the added sugar of flavored creamers and syrups.
- Control added sugar: When ordering coffee from a coffee shop, ask for half of the sweetener and/or flavored syrups as opposed to the full amount. When making coffee at home, opt for milk or creamer with no sugar added. Consider adding sugar in small amounts. Try starting with a half teaspoon of sugar and add more if desired. You may find you like your coffee a little less sweet than with the pre-sweetened creamers!
- Cut back on saturated fat: Substitute heavy cream with 2% milk, which is lower in saturated fat and calories. If you enjoy the thickness of heavy cream, try using a milk frother with 2% milk for a more creamy and thick texture.
- Avoid maxing out on caffeine: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. That’s about four 8-ounce cups of coffee (not espresso, that’s regular coffee). Remember, this isn’t the required amount of caffeine, this is the maximum limit, so ideally you should consume less than 400 mg of caffeine per day.
- Don’t forget to eat breakfast: It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason! It’s easy to run out the door with your cup of coffee and consider it breakfast, but adding a balanced meal to enjoy with your coffee will ensure you have a well fueled start to your day! Try eggs, toast and fruit or overnight oats made with milk, nut butter, and berries with your morning cup of joe!