Friday, June 21, 2013

Java making you Fat?

I have a problem.  I love coffee; but not just any coffee.  Life on the average day, in my opinion, ought to start with a LARGE Raspberry White Mocha or Salted Caramel White Mocha…with whipped cream, of course!  I'm so incredibly lazy that I much prefer buying my coffee at the little drive up coffee place with the smiling, over-caffeinated baristas that chatter like little birds at me before handing over my fix; I love the way they giggle at my coffee order, which probably comes out like "Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum....I want a giant Jamaican Butter rum!".   When I do actually make coffee at home...I load it with International Delight flavored creamer and sugar.  Mmmmm....my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I love little hard candies flavored like Irish Cream and Amaretto.  Chocolate covered coffee beans send me into a frenzy like starving piranhas....nibble, nibble, nibble until the bag is gone. 

Is coffee good for you?  Is it bad for you?  I have no idea.  One minute the caffeine is bad or something, the next week something in it prevents cancer...I have no idea. I can’t keep up.  I’m a coffee drinker. End of story.  What I do know is that from a caloric perspective, it’s pretty good.  Depending on the source, black coffee is anywhere between 1-5 calories per 8 ounce cup.   But then come the extras, and every time I enter those calories...I cringe.  Not to mention the cost!  Getting coffee at those expensive little joints makes quite a dent in the ol’ bank account; even if you only allow yourself one treat a week.  So here are some different ideas to cut the calories in your java at home:

Golden Rules of Coffee.  Check out this site to learn the basic rules about where to buy coffee, when to buy it, how to grind it and how to store it.  These are the basic rules when it comes to good coffee http://makegoodcoffee.com/rules

Is your coffee maker clean and do you know how to use it?  Start by pulling out the manual (or looking it up online) and thoroughly cleaning your coffee maker.  Drip coffee makers should be cleaned at least monthly to remove hard water deposits, coffee oils (that become rancid over time) and other impurities.   While you have the manual out, make sure you know how to properly use your coffee maker.

Choose the right roast.  Sometimes I think that part of the “problem” with using too much sweetener/creamer is because of the flavor.  I loved my mom’s coffee growing up, but as an adult I realized that I didn’t really care for the roast or blend that she bought, I still add extra creamer and sugar just to get it to a flavor I like.  Try some new blends and see if there isn’t something you like more.  Visit a local coffeehouse and speak with someone there, they’ll be able to talk to you about what you like and suggest something.   Consider buying whole beans and a grinder.

Try Flavored Coffee.   Flavored coffee comes in about every flavor these days….chocolate, caramel, even blueberry streusel.  So if you find yourself adding lots of unnecessary calories via flavored creamers, try switching to a flavored coffee with a splash of skim milk and sweetener.  Many brands sell “one pot” samplers and depending on how much you drink, you could make it last a few days. 

Sticky, sweet syrup.  If you don’t care for flavored coffees or like to be able to control the flavor, coffee syrups are an excellent alternative to consider.  From my quick Google search (which by no means should be considered the end all be all), 1 oz of Torani Vanilla Syrup has 80 calories, vs. 110 in 1 oz of sugar.   This of course doesn’t mean anything if you opt for sugar free, which has zero calories and you can add a splash of milk.   The advantage of syrups is that you cut calories, and add flavor and sweetness (both a plus in my book).

Change your sweetener.  I have a problem with sweets and I’ve always put a lot of sugar in my coffee.  I’ve recently switched to Splenda and Truvia.  There are lots of options out there.

Change your creamer.  Personally, I’m a junkie for International Delight coffee creamer.   This is embarrassing to admit, but the other national brand of coffee creamer upsets my stomach and everything it touches after that.  So I’m not able to switch brands, but if you don’t have those problems, you should definitely be comparing labels and seeing if there is a fat free or sugar free option in your flavor.  I understand it can be hard to give up, but if the flavor is comparable then it is something to definitely look into.


Change your milk.  If you don’t use creamer, try using lighter milk like skim or switching to an almond or coconut milk which come in light and come in vanilla and chocolate flavor. 

Add Drink Mix.  Yes, I just said that.  I like to add a packet sugar-free cocoa mix to black coffee.  There is creamer, sweetener and flavor in the mix.  And instant cocoa comes in so many great flavors now!

If you're lazy like I am and like to have someone else make your coffee, to ask for skim milk with your lattes, and sugar free syrups at those coffee places.  

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