I received this great question from one of my readers:
I realize 9 times out of 10, I start my day with about 2 tablespoons of refined sugar and about 4 ounces of fatty cream. I’m talking about my morning coffee of course.
I’m sure a lot of people will tell you, “There is no way I’m giving up my morning coffee and I don’t want to drink it black either.”
So with that, What are some healthy alternatives to the Cream and Sugar kickstart?
I LOVE this question. Love, love love! I am a firm believer in nixing the white stuff in your diet.
Agave nectar: Sweeter than honey, but a more neutral taste. Available in liquid form. Agave will easily dissolve in cold drinks (iced coffee, anyone?) Agave nectar is extracted from the Blue Agave Cactus. Raw agave syrup has a low glycemic index and is absorbed into the body much slower than sugar. It eliminates the highs and lows experienced with eating refined sugar.
60 calories per 1 Tbs.
Honey: Honey in coffee? Sounds weird, but it’s delicious! It’s sweeter than sugar and available in liquid (which is what I use) and crystal form. Derived from the nectar of flowers gathered by bees. Very romantic, no? Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.
64 calories per 1 Tbs.
Molasses: I LOVE molasses – but not in my coffee. Good to know it’s out there, though.It’s unrefined/unprocessed and make sure to use the unsulfured stuff.
58 calories per 1 Tbs.
Sucanat: It is dehydrated, unprocessed sugar cane juice in the form of fine, ground golden-brown crystals. It’s better for baking and will dissolve quicker. Since it maintains its innate molasses, Sucanat has been proven to possess the most nutritional content of any sweetener from the sugar cane plant. The molasses adds a certain richness and also contains significant amounts of iron and calcium. Sucanat possesses far fewer calories than white sugar.
45 calories per 1 Tbs.
Turbinado: You’ve seen me use this in my B. Bread Recipe. It comes in coarse ground crystals, which require a good stir in your morning coffee to get it all to dissolve. When making Turbinado, the juice from the sugar cane plant is extracted, heated and then turned into crystals. This type of sugar does not preserve much of its original molasses content, although it is often used in recipes as a substitute for brown sugar. Like Sucanat, Turbinado also contains far fewer calories than white sugar.
45 calories per 1 Tbs.
Sugar is easy. Creamer is a little more difficult…
Cream or creamers can have anywhere from 40-90 calories. In addition, some contain saturated fat and/or trans fat. Yikes!
Skim milk: is the obvious best choice at only 10 calories per 2 tablespoons, but making the jump from full-fat to skim can be jarring. Ease your way down starting with 2%, then 1% and finally down to skim. Give your tastebuds time to re-adjust!
If you still turn your nose up to the thought of adding skim milk, there are a few other options:
Fat-Free Evaporated Milk: Obviously this is a more processed choice and definitely not natural, but if you are looking for a creamier alternative, try this.
25 calories per 2 Tbs.
Soy Creamer: Once again, more processed. It has less fat and calories than your typical whole milk creamer, but some preservatives, stabilizers, and a little added sugar. BUT it’s Vegetarian!
30 calories per 2 Tbs.
Coconut Milk: Go with unsweetened. Preservatives and stabilizers in this too. TONS of health benefits adding a little coconut into the diet. Source of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. Also, vegetarian.
15 calories per 2 Tbs.