Low-Sugar Coffee Drinks

I don’t know what it is, but every time I finish a workout the first thing I crave is a coffee. I don’t want to erase all the work I just did by loading up on a high-calorie, sugary drink, but I like drinking “fun drinks” in the afternoon. After many years as a barista, I learned some easy swaps to help reduce the calories and sugar in your drink without sacrificing taste.

What’s your favorite drink to order at a coffee shop?

  • Make it an americano

    • You can switch out your latte (made with milk) to an americano (made with water) and add in the flavoring of your choice to reduce calories.
  • Half the flavor

    • Request half the amount of syrup or pumps in your drink to drastically reduce your sugar intake.
  • Drink flavored coffee

    • Flavored coffees do not have sugar in them, as the beans are purely coated in flavor oils, so you are not adding calories or grams of sugar. Pro tip- even if you normally drink your coffee black, adding some cream to a flavored coffee makes the flavor notes blend and taste a lot better in my opinion.
  • Drink iced herbal tea

    • Fruity, herbal teas are delicious over ice. You still get that sweet taste, but it is coming from a natural source. The Ruby Sipper tea from SerendipiTea is my favorite!
  • Watch out for chai lattes

    • Many people think that a chai tea latte is simply tea and milk, but most coffee shops use a chai concentrate. These are LOADED with sugar. If the shop does have a natural chai tea, try ordering it as a fog (with milk) and request that they don’t add in any extra flavors.
  • Be careful with sugar free flavors

    • I used to be the queen of sugar free flavors, but I eventually accepted that most of them taste synthetic and are not worth it. The exceptions are usually sugar free sauces. Torani’s sugar free white chocolate sauce is incredible. If you don’t mind the taste of the syrups, try halving the flavor because sugar substitutes are often much sweeter than the regular version.
  • Don’t drink frappes

    • I cannot fathom how much sugar goes into a frappe. The base already has tons, but the syrups add even more. Try getting your drink over ice instead to cut out the frappe base. If you simply can’t stay away, trying ordering a latte frappe (or a frappe with just the base and milk/espresso). It will satisfy your frozen coffee craving with a little less sugar.

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