In honor of National Coffee Day (Sept. 29), here’s a look at how you can make your coffee healthier with simple alternatives. There are a lot of articles out there telling you to put down the coffee and pick up less caffeine-packed beverages like herbal teas. While we agree that cutting down on caffeine is important, we also realize you’re human and that sometimes nothing perks you up better in the morning than a warm (or iced) cup of joe. That said, while you’re enjoying your brew, take a moment to think about what you’re putting in it.
Commercial coffee creamers with flavors like Almond Joy and Thin Mint can be tempting, but don’t let the low-fat and sugar-free claims fool you into thinking they’re healthy. These products tend to be highly processed and packed with ingredients like trans fats, sugar and artificial additives. The good news is that there are plenty of natural creamers that will provide the same perk with some additional health benefits.
Coconut Milk: Coconuts are rich in iron and calcium and lactose-free and their milk provides the same creaminess that commercial coffee creams do without all the added artificial ingredients. Coconut milk is super simple to make yourself (two ingredients, people!) or can be bought at the store. Whether you go for the canned kind (thicker and higher in calories) or a carton from the refrigerated section (imagine the thickness of 1% milk), go for the product with the least amount of added ingredients. Ideally you want just water and coconut.
Almond Milk: Almond milk is a delicious, nutty alternative to commercial coffee creamers. One cup of almond milk contains 100 percent of your B-12 requirements and 20 percent of your vitamin A and D recommendations. You might be amazed at how easy and cost efficient it is to make homemade almond milk (again, two ingredients!), but you can buy it in the dairy aisle as well. Try vanilla or dark chocolate flavored for extra taste, but watch out for added sugars in the flavored milks.
Real Milk and Honey: Combining skim, 1% or 2% milk with honey will give your morning mug a sweet kick while still allowing you to know exactly what you’re drinking. Natural sweeteners like honey or agave also maintain your blood sugar levels because they are both very low on the glycemic index. Need a little more something? Add cinnamon to your coffee for a nice flavor boost that also helps lower blood sugar.
For the pumpkin spice latte lovers, try our healthier, homemade recipe.
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or milk of choice
- 6 tbsp. pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- ½-1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- ½-1 tsp. of almond extract
- 1-2 tbsp. of honey or maple syrup (or 2-3 drops of liquid stevia)
- 16 oz. of coffee or (2-4 shots of espresso)
- Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- Mix all ingredients together thoroughly, other than coffee and garnish.
- Pour two 8 ounce cups of coffee.
- Pour pumpkin pie mixture evenly split between the two cups of coffee. Mix thoroughly.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, or serve with a cinnamon stick to stir.
- Enjoy autumn in a healthier cup!
Our mission is to help everyone in Michigan get healthier from the inside out. This means everything from giving you resources to help you make better decisions about diet and exercise, as well as information on creating and sustaining nurturing communities and successful businesses — everything you need to help create a healthier Michigan.