Published on 29 Sep 2023

How to Make Healthy Coffee Drinks at Home

Coffee is the ideal healthy weight loss food.

Not only does one cup of black coffee have negligible calories (that makes it a Free Food on the Nutrisystem plan), but a Harvard study also found that drinking up to four cups a day can actually reduce body fat by about four percent. Researchers theorize that this is done by boosting the rate at which we burn calories (metabolic rate).

Keep your coffee healthy with smart indulgences.

Unfortunately, coffee is one of the easiest healthy foods to make unhealthy. All the mix-ins can turn your daily pick-me-up into one big fat calorie bomb.

For example, if you have two cups a day with cream and sugar, you’d better add an extra 300 calories to your food diary. Two ounces of cream is 120 calories (with 12 grams of fat) and two teaspoons of sugar are 32 calories. Switching to whole milk saves you a bundle of calories—two ounces is only 38 calories.

There are plenty of other, better fixes to help you to get the coffee taste you want with less of a hit on your weight loss efforts. Whether you enjoy iced coffee, cold brew or cozy hot coffee drinks, these eight tasty tips will help you make a healthy homemade coffee.

1. Try flavored beans.

Flavored coffee beans

You may not miss the dairy and sugar if your coffee is ultra-flavorful. Most supermarkets and specialty stores carry coffee beans and ground coffee that is already flavored (think hazelnut, vanilla and caramel) and contain no sugar. It’s a simple swap that can really pump up the flavor in your cup of joe!

2. Replace sugar with natural sweeteners.

Natural sweeteners for light coffee

Stevia and monk fruit extract are both plant-based sweeteners that bring the taste and satisfaction but none of the calories of sugar. Skip artificial sweeteners if you can. Studies have found that they really don’t help when it comes to weight loss.

3. Spice it up.

Pumpkin spice coffee made healthy

All those pumpkin spice coffee drinks that appear every fall use spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to approximate the basic flavors of pumpkin pie. Who says you can’t replicate your pumpkin spice latte at home? You can easily add those spices to your mug. Try our Skinny Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew recipe.

Feel free to also be adventurous with your spices. Cardamom, ginger, allspice, ground orange and lemon peels all make great blend-ins. You can add them to the ground coffee you make or sprinkle right in your cup.

4. Check your baking shelf for mix-ins.

Vanilla extract as a low-cal coffee add-in

Extracts aren’t just for making cakes and icing. Add extracts of vanilla, rum, almond or coconut to really dress up your morning brew. Even a small sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa can add big flavor! You can add it right to your ground coffee before you make it.

5. Choose the right syrups.

Zero-calorie, zero-sugar syrups

One pump of a sugary syrup can add loads up calories and sugar to your coffee. If you really love your coffee to taste like dessert, consider zero calorie, zero sugar syrups that are available in supermarkets, specialty stories and online. They come in great flavors too, from plain old vanilla to mocha, caramel, toffee and even amaretto.

We combine sugar free caramel and vanilla syrups in this Sweet Cream Caramel Cold Brew Coffee recipe.

6. Lighten more lightly.

Use light coffee creamer and reap benefits

Just switching from cream to skim milk could save you almost 100 calories (and you still get the calcium and vitamin D benefits). Unsweetened almond milk  is another option. Two ounces only adds about nine calories.

7. Go decadent.

Fat-free whipped cream for a safe indulgence

Fat free whipped topping adds only about five calories in each two-tablespoon serving, plus a whole lot of creaminess and satisfaction.

8. Foam it up.

Foam skim milk for the best coffee froth

Skim milk makes some of the best milk foam (it’s a food chemistry thing). And it’s easy to do, even without a cappuccino machine or a milk frother!

Simply pour some milk into a jar (about jam-jar sized) so it’s halfway full or less. Screw on the lid, then shake until it froths. This should take 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the lid and pop the jar in the microwave for 30 seconds. This helps to “stabilize” the foam. You can then easily spoon the foam onto coffee. You can also use a whisk, a blender, an immersion blender or electric mixer.

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