A plain cup of brewed coffee only has 1-2 calories, but when you start pouring in the creamer and sugar, it can quickly become an unnatural, high calorie beverage.
Most commercial creamers are packed with additives, artificial flavors, trans fats, and added sugars – most in the form of corn sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.
Then there are commercial coffee house drinks. A grande Caramel Chocolate Frappuccino with whipped cream packs a whopping 590 calories with 19 teaspoons of sugar (74g) and 19g of saturated fat.
It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to make your own delicious concoctions to sweeten up your cup of coffee. And the best reasons to do it are you control what it tastes like and how healthy it is.
Below are easy additions or recipes you can use in your coffee. As you learn what you like, experiment with different proportions and flavors.
1. Old-school dairy from the cow. If you haven’t tried it in a while, give actual milk a chance
Whole milk, half-and-half, creams, even evaporated milk from a small tin can may provide the flavor you need without any additives, preservatives, added sugars, or trans fats.
Real milk has a little saturated fat, but chances are you won’t be using enough to matter. Calories? Half-and-half and commercial liquid creamers both have about 20 calories per tablespoon. If you need it a little sweeter, add a teaspoon or two of your own sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Brown sugar is good too. If you’re avoiding sugar, add stevia.
2. DIY maple vanilla dairy creamer
This flavored creamer recipe is one you can make ahead of time so it’s at the ready every morning when you make your coffee. It lasts about 10 days in the refrigerator. One tablespoon of this has 25 calories and 2g carbohydrates (sugar), compared with 35-45 calories and 5-7g carbohydrates (sugar) for most commercial French vanilla creamers.
3. Creamer without the dairy
Splash in almond, cashew, coconut, soy, or any other plant-based “milk.” You can also add coconut oil to coffee to make it richer without any milk.
If you want a fancier drink, whip up this non-dairy coconut latte recipe (it has less than 100 calories).
4. Dry creamer
If you like dry creamer for its lasting power and easy portability, you'll have to give this a try. It’s close to or a little higher in calories than the plain commercial products. But it doesn't have trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, or chemical additives.
5. Flavored coffee
If you like the taste of flavored coffee and don’t care for the cream, add fresh herbs like mint or dry spices in with the ground coffee in your French press or other drip coffeemaker. You can add cinnamon bark, cloves, cardamom pods, cocoa nibs, or fennel seeds to your ground coffee.