For many, coffee is a morning ritual that cannot be skipped. Coffee is a natural stimulant, which activates our central nervous system. Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. Within 20 minutes of consuming caffeine, you start to feel more alert with a better ability to concentrate, focus, and react quickly. Studies have shown there’s a benefit to regular coffee drinking, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, liver disease, cancer, dementia, and stroke. Coffee contains several important nutrients including:
- B Vitamins that help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy.
- Manganese, which helps the bodyform connective tissue, bones, and blood clotting. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation.
- Potassium, which is and electrolyte that serves many significant functions within the body, such as helping maintain a normal water balance between cells and body
- Magnesium, which is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and it also helps make protein, bone, and DNA.
While coffee has plenty of health benefits, it’s typically the indulgent coffee additions that turn an antioxidant packed cup of java into sipping on dessert. Curious to learn what registered dietitian’s coffee orders are? There are more healthy options besides just a cup of black coffee.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve coined the term “procaffeinating”, meaning the tendency not to start anything until you’ve has a cup of coffee. My morning is not complete (or fully functioning) without a cup of coffee. I like a hint of sweetness to my coffee, so I add cinnamon into my coffee grounds before brewing, and then I add a splash of milk in my cup of coffee. With fall right around the corner, it’s pumpkin spice coffee time! Instead of adding the sugary syrups, try using pumpkin spice coffee grounds to enjoy the fall flavor.
At home, Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN of Kelly Jones Nutrition, uses her French press almost every morning with a dark roast blend. She says, “When I do buy a cup from a coffee shop, I typically get an Americano as it’s slightly stronger and prepared fresh. I prefer to drink my coffee black most of the time, not to save calories, but because I really enjoy the taste.”
Jenna Amos, RD orders a hot black coffee with a splash of whole or 2% milk. She says, “If I’m feeling a bit more decadent, I will go for a nonfat latte. It has more milk so the calorie difference between whole and skim milk is more substantial. I go for regular milk for the protein, calcium, and vitamin D. I’ll sometimes add a sprinkle of cinnamon.”
Tawnie Kroll, RD of Kroll’s Korner and Cara Harbstreet, MS RD LD of Street Smart Nutrition order Americanos. Tawnie says, “I really like the taste of coffee without any sugar or milk and I think if you want coffee it should be a relatively low calorie drink. If I am feeling like something ‘fancier’ I will get an Americano with steamed heavy cream and a dash of cinnamon powder. The heavy cream is lower in carbs and I just really enjoy the flavor it gives the coffee!”
Kristina Todini, RDN of Fork In The Road, orders a single black espresso. She says, “I was never a coffee drinker until I married a man from Italy and now I’ve been converted. I love a quick pick-me-up in the morning but I’m caffeine sensitive and draw the line at one, unless I want to toss and turn all night! It’s all about finding the right balance and not overdoing caffeine.”
Kelli Shallal MPH RD, nutrition counseling and communications specialist at Hungry Hobby, enjoys a black light roast with her breakfast in the morning. She adds, “I love a whole milk latte for an afternoon snack or pick me up. The fat and protein help to keep me full and powered through the afternoon.”
Judy Barbe, author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest, starts each day with a cappuccino. She says, “It’s warm and flavorful, it’s more than a cup of coffee. It’s a thing. A moment. It’s my favorite milk moment. Those sips deliver a boost to my bones and help fuel my morning workout. It is the tastiest way to meet one of my 3 daily servings. How great is that when food feeds your body and soul!”
What’s your favorite coffee order? If you still need some inspo check out this post by dietitian Rachael Hartley. Share in the comments below! Be sure to also sign up for our newsletter for more nutrition tips and recipes.