5 Healthier ways to enjoy your morning (and afternoon) coffee

Jul 29, 2015 at 1:55 p.m. ET
Image: Caroline Eisenberg

As a Dietitian who specializes in weight loss, I am forever analyzing my clients daily food records with a fine toothed comb. I assess the good, the bad... and those calories we forget even exist. I am sometimes relieved when, halfway through a session, my client chimes in with an "I almost forgot, I drink coffee... with cream and sugar... three times a day."

It may not seem like a big deal, but when we take a closer look, their daily caffeine kick may be costing them hundreds of unsatisfying calories from added sugar, saturated fat and (gasp) artificial flavoring. This can translate into 1 to 2 pounds a week in weight gain! From coffee! (A drink that is a mere 5 calories when consumed in its naked form.) Since cutting out Java would completely interfere with myquality of life, I would never suggest that to be a realistic health goal for my fellow coffee addicts. Instead, I suggest creative ways to enjoy this superfood, sans the added junk, without compromising morning rituals. Read on for some cup o' joe makeovers.

1. Try it over ice!

A temperature swap may be all that's needed to change the flavor and require much less cream or sugar to satisfy your tastebuds.

2. Keep it simple with less refined sugars

Go ahead and toss out those pink packets too since we know that the fake stuff keeps us craving more sugar down the road. Try 1 tsp. of natural sweetness like honey, agave or maple syrup. Now you have control over the quality and quantity!

3. Make your own creamer

Mix some vanilla extract, unsweetened cocoa and cinnamon into almond or soymilk. Store in an airtight jar and place directly in front of your old coffeemate creamer.

4. Add some fruit

No, really! Do it! I recently wrote about my Nordstrom Cafe orange cold bee copycat. So refreshing and completely guilt free.

5. Whip it

Just like playing around with temperature, changing up the texture of food and drinks can often redefine what our palates perceive as delish. I like to use my aerolatte to foam up some ice cold skim milk. An easy DIY late... minus the $4 price tag.

There you have it! Now, get busy in your own kitchen and become your own barista. Your waistline will thank you!