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Coffee drinks can be loaded with calories, fat and sugar. Here are tips to make them healthier.

Did you ever think about how many calories are in your favorite coffee drink? Or how much sugar it contains? Although some people may balk at the idea of drinking a daily milkshake or indulging in a decadent treat early in the morning, they may not think twice about what goes into their favorite caffeinated pick-me-up. But unless you stick to a plain cup o’ Joe, you may be adding hundreds of calories or more to your daily intake from your favorite sips.

Life is too short to give up on lattes, macchiatos, mistos, mochas and cappuccinos. But here are ways to make your coffee drinks healthier, whether you’re stopping into your local coffee shop or making a cup at home.

7 Healthier Coffee Hacks
  1. Use non-fat milk. Whether you prefer dairy, almond, oat or another type of milk, you can save calories and reduce the fat in your drink by opting for non-fat or low-fat versions instead of full-fat milk.
  2. Slash the sugar. Instead of sweetening coffee with sugar or sugar-filled syrups, try to get used to drinking coffee that’s less sweet. If you can’t imagine living without sweetener in your coffee, use a natural calorie-free sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.
  3. Flavor with spices instead of syrups. Many coffee drinks get their flavoring from sugar-filled syrups, such as vanilla, caramel or cinnamon. At Starbucks, for example, a grande-sized coffee contains four pumps of syrup, at about 20 calories per pump. Instead of adding flavor this way, why not add a few sprinkles of cinnamon, cocoa or pumpkin spice? Not only will you add flavor to your coffee, but you’ll get an added boost of antioxidants.
  4. Skip the whipped cream. There are about 50 calories worth of whipped cream in most coffee drinks. Skip it and you’ll not only be saving calories but will be cutting back on sugar, too.
  5. Avoid artificial creamers and sugar-free syrups. You may save calories by jazzing up your coffee with sugar-free flavored creamers or syrups. But instead, you’ll be consuming artificial sweeteners and other artificial flavorings. So although you’ll keep the calorie count in check, your coffee drink won’t exactly be healthy.
  6. Calm your caffeine addiction. You may need a jolt of caffeine to get you going in the morning, and there’s research to back up the benefits of moderate caffeine intake. But having too much caffeine can make you anxious, restless and jittery. It can also mess with your sleep. If you have multiple cups of coffee per day, consider switching to decaf after the first one or two cups, especially if you’re drinking coffee later in the day.
  7. Get a smaller size. If you want your coffee drink just the way you like it, enjoy it but in a smaller size. You’ll get all the taste you crave with fewer calories, sugar and fat. For example, if you choose a tall latte at Starbucks, it will clock in at almost half the calories of a grande and 55 percent less than a venti.

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Date Last Reviewed: December 18, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RDN, CLT

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