You look forward to your morning cup (or cups!) of Joe, but simply can’t stomach the thought of taking it black and want to steer clear of artificial ingredients. Not to worry! In celebration of National Coffee Month, we’re giving your morning ritual a healthy makeover. We’ve identified 10 better-for-you ways to sweeten the pot.
1. Almond milk. This creamy, dairy-free beverage boasts only 30 calories per serving and contains more calcium than cow’s milk. Plus, it creates delicious flavored coffee thanks to its subtle nutty taste is the perfect addition to any roast. Just be sure to look for the unsweetened variety.
2. Agave syrup. Agave is high in fructose and contains more calories than table sugar, but it ranks lower on the glycemic index, which makes it a smarter option. Plus, a little agave syrup goes a long way, so you won’t need as much to achieve your desired level of all-natural sweetness.
3. Cashew milk. Rich in calcium and vitamins, cashew milk is another natural and nourishing alternative to creamer. Thick, creamy and slightly sweet—it’s everything you could want in your coffee’s counterpart.
4. Cinnamon serves as an ingredient in a variety of recipes. So why not add a dash to your java? It’s a wonderful, flavorful natural sweetener alternative, especially for those counting calories.
5. Coconut milk. Not a fan of coconut? Not to worry. Pouring a bit of coconut milk into your cuppa will add the sweetness you’re seeking without making your before-breakfast beverage taste like the tropics.
6. Raw honey. If you’ve ever added honey to your tea, you know that it provides a subtle sweetness without overpowering the delicate flavor of the brew. The same holds true for coffee. After your cup cools off a bit, mix in a small amount of the sweet stuff. You can always add more to taste (stronger coffee may require more honey).
7. Maple syrup. So sorry, pancakes. It was great while it lasted, French toast. Maple syrup has a new gig—acting as a sweetener for the best coffee drink to go with your morning meal. Pour a cup, spoon in some syrup and take a sip. Remember to start off small. You can always add more if you need to and much like agave syrup, a little goes a long way.
8. Molasses. The bold, spicy flavor of molasses will make you forget that you once loaded your coffee with table sugar and artificial flavorings. And the fiery kick the sweetener provides may be exactly what you need to jumpstart your day!
9. Unsweetened cocoa powder. You can never go wrong with chocolate. So why not doctor your bean juice with a little unsweetened cocoa powder? Think about it: coffee and cocoa. You’ll be taking care of two cravings at once.
10. Vanilla extract. If you’re not big on chocolate, vanilla extract is a delicious, natural alternative for flavoring your coffee. Just be sure not to overdo it (notice how recipes never call for a cup of vanilla extract?!) because too much pure vanilla can be overpowering, to say the least.