by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Are you the type of person who can’t function before your morning cup of coffee? Well, you’re not alone. Coffee is one of the most highly consumed beverages in the morning. Unfortunately, most people wait in a drive-thru way too long just to get their fancy cup of coffee from their local coffee shop that is loaded with added calories from sugar and fat that none of us need.
If you are open-minded and are willing to take a few minutes to make your own morning cup of coffee before you head out the door, there are several ways you can enhance the benefits of your brew.
Now, I understand that nothing listed below is going to taste as good as passing a $5 bill through your window and grabbing your sugary cup of goodness, but the benefits you’ll gain through what is mentioned in this article will be well worth it.
So, without further ado, In this article, we are going to look at five ways you can make your morning cup of coffee even better and get the most benefits out of your morning elixir.
1. Add Protein
Before you toss a sirloin in your coffee, let’s set some boundaries. In this instance, you’re going to want to use a protein powder or a protein shake (RTD). By adding in some protein powder or some of your protein shake, you can pump the brakes on how much sugar you’re putting in your cup of coffee and add some protein that your muscles will appreciate.
A flavor that most people enjoy is a vanilla shake or powder. But you can get a little creative and use whatever your heart desires. Chocolate mint? Go for it. Brownie batter? Why not? Try a few different options and see what you like best.
2. Play with Different Coffee Beans
I remember when I was young and dumb. Now, I’m just old and dumb. All joking aside, many people think that coffee is coffee when in actuality, there are different types of coffee beans and roasts. If you’ve tried coffee and hated the flavor, don’t worry, not all cups of coffee taste like that.
You can pick and choose the different coffee beans you want to use in your morning cup of coffee. Some beans have chocolate notes, caramel notes, vanilla notes, a sweetness to them, and yes, even the punch you in the face intense flavors if you’re into that. Figure out which you like best. It’s possible that you may find a coffee bean that you don’t need to add anything to and can drink your cup black. That can save you calories from sweeteners and creamers.
3. Choose the Perfect Strength
This piggybacks off the above where we discussed coffee beans. Depending on the type of bean, it may have more or less caffeine than what you are used to. If your normal cup of coffee isn’t strong enough, try something different. There are endless amounts of coffee varieties out there with varying levels of caffeine content. Find what suits you best.
One thing that people tend to forget is that there are also different strengths available such as decaf, half-caf, and full strength. If you’re sensitive to caffeine but enjoy the taste of coffee, go with decaf or half-caf. If you need a little pick-me-up, the half-caf will at least give you a little energy but not enough that it’s going to give you the jitters or get your heart racing. But if your sensitivity level doesn’t allow, drop it down to decaf if you must (or drink decaf at night if you’re worried about not being able to sleep).
4. Use Milk Substitutes Instead of Creamers
If you want to keep your calories down and help preserve your waistline, you may want to press pause on dumping creamers and milk into your morning cup of coffee. Instead, try nut milk. That reference will probably get this article banned from the internet, so instead, let’s just say unsweetened almond milk. You can even go the route of using soy milk, coconut milk, or oat milk.
Many coffee shops use heavy whipping cream when making customers their coffee, which can add a ton of calories and fat. Not to mention a bunch of sugar to sweeten it up. If you make this your normal cup that you purchase on the way to work each morning, you’re adding hundreds (if not thousands) of calories you could avoid and be keeping your midsection tight if you were to just say no and add a substitute instead.
5. Sprinkle Some Goodness on Top
Here’s where your imagination can run free, and the benefits can add up. Just like with the protein powder, you could add some cinnamon on top of your morning cup of coffee for blood sugar regulation, MCT oil for some healthy fats and cognitive benefits, collagen powder for skin/nail/hair health (and added protein), mushroom powder for overall health benefits and cognition… the list goes on and on. Obviously, you don’t need to add all of these, but the list will give you some ideas and get the wheels turning as to what is possible.
The key with your morning cup of coffee is to have a “why” behind the reason you’re drinking it. Your morning cup of coffee isn’t a necessity (although many will argue it is if you want to be around them or have them be able to function). Make your coffee work for you rather than against you. Add the ingredients you like to your coffee for some added benefits. A little trial and error will come into play, but when you get it just right, you’ll save a ton of money and reap a bunch of benefits from a health and productivity standpoint.
Now, go make some coffee and get sippin’!