I understand wanting to be healthy and still enjoying your favorite beverages at the same time. If you’re like me, you probably try to avoid sugary energy drinks as much as possible. It’s a known fact that school and work can often cause you to need a burst of caffeine, especially in the mornings.
Coffee has long been seen as a healthy alternative to getting a quick burst of energy, but just how many calories do you consume in a cup? Is coffee actually something we should be drinking when on a diet, or is it the perfect drink for the calorie obsessed?
This is the question you’re here for, so let’s go ahead and get it out of the way. Coffee does not have a lot of calories. We aren’t talking 100 calories per cup, but more like 3 to 5 calories per cup. That’s an incredibly small amount of calories, especially thinking about how flavorful the beverage is.
Black coffee is one of the most commonly consumed types of coffee, only has two calories per eight ounces, while espresso generally has three per shot. Many popular cold brew coffees will have five calories per eight ounces.
Along with Tea, coffee is probably the healthiest low-calorie beverage you can consume, that doesn’t just taste like plain water. Now, keep in mind that this doesn’t count for that fast food mocha you get every day. Specialty coffee especially when ordered in larger sizes, can actually end up having over 1,000 calories.
What we need to talk about, if you don’t just enjoy a plain cup of coffee, is what you are putting into your drink. There are tons of ways to sweeten or flavor your coffee without packing on hundreds of calories.
Sweeteners come in a variety of foam, including those little colored packets often given out at hotels. These are commonly used to replace sugar in coffee, and while their health benefits aren’t proven, it has become quite popular with those watching their calorie intake.
The general amount of calories in a packet of sweetener is two to four. There are some non-calorie sweeteners that you can add to your coffee. Just be sure to check your particular brand’s calorie count per serving to get the most accurate information.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you have probably already debated dumping a teaspoon of sugar in your drink. While sugar isn’t bad in moderation, depending on how many cups of coffee you drink a day, your calories and sugar count can slowly start to sneak up on you.
Sugar, white or brown, usually has around 16 calories per teaspoon when properly measured out. For every teaspoon of sugar, add 16 calories to your beverage.
Honey is almost always seen as a healthier alternative to use in beverages or sweets. Honey is naturally occurring much like sugar; it doesn’t come with all the health issues. Honey is often much easier for our stomachs to break down than traditional sugar making it more effective in weight loss.
A tablespoon of honey, when correctly measured out, can have around 64 calories. While this is a high number, keep in mind that honey contains vitamins and antioxidants that help your body out. You should also keep in mind that if you only use a teaspoon of sugar per cup, a half teaspoon of honey will have the same sweetening effect.
If you just learned that your favorite cup of specialty coffee is teeming with calories, then you’re likely looking for healthy alternatives. While drinking plain coffee is the most calorie efficient way to get a burst of energy, it’s not for everyone, and there are some great tips for getting rid of the bitterness without adding on calories.
My first bit of advice is to use low-fat sweeteners and creamers. There are tons of diet flavoring tools available in grocery stores for those looking to cut calories. Honey, as mentioned above, is another great way to get good calories in your diet and can be much sweeter than just adding in teaspoons of sugar.
If you use milk in your coffee, then try skim or low-fat varieties. You can even turn to almond or coconut milk to cut back further. Some coffee fans will even add in a bit more water to dilute the strong taste of the coffee.
You should also avoid calorie-packed flavors like mocha and caramel. If you want more flavor to your coffee, then try adding in hazelnut or a bit of vanilla flavoring. Never add in syrups like fast-food joints do to your coffee or whip creams, these may taste great, but will make the calorie count jump.
You should also try and make your coffee at home, as you’re less likely to be tempted by that exclusive beverage at the coffee shop. There are tons of low-fat K-cup options for those who have limited time in the mornings.
If you are looking to cut back on sugary drinks, then coffee is a safe choice. While many drive-through and specialty options can be high calorie, homemade coffee and sweeteners are usually low in calories.
There are tons of options to help flavor your cup while keeping your count in mind, like honey. Have fun experimenting with different sweeteners, creamers, and flavor packets to find the perfect cup for you.
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