If you can’t stand the taste of a black coffee or unsweetened tea, you are not alone. Nothing is better than starting your day off with a sweetened cup of caffeine. However, the kind of sweetener you add can make or break your healthy habits. Sugary syrups, artificial sweeteners, and refined granulated sugar may be popular at your local coffee shop, but they aren’t good for your body.
Thankfully, there are healthy sweetening substitutes out there that aren’t hard to find. Kick the bad habits and get down with these healthier swaps. Your taste buds won’t even notice the difference and your body will thank you in the long run.
If you enjoy the flavor of coconut, you will fall in love with this healthy addition to your morning ritual. Coconut milk is naturally sweet and is good for you. It’s a great way to substitute not just sugar, but cream too. If you want to get fancy, froth the coconut milk, this will give the coffee a fuller body and can even be used to make lattes. Add a dash of cinnamon for an impressive cup of joe.
Organic Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is not just for pancakes, it is a wonderful way to sweeten a cup of tea or coffee. This naturally occurring sweetener adds an earthy flavor to drinks. Maple syrup is naturally very sweet. If you buy a jar of it, it will last you for months since only a small teaspoon is needed to sweeten up a cup of coffee. Organic maple syrup also has some of the same antioxidant properties of berries. Skip the corn syrup labeled ‘maple syrup’. Only organic maple syrup contains the healthy components that make it a good sugar alternative.
Honey is another sweetener that naturally occurs in the wild. The sweetness of honey is incomparable to fake, unhealthy sweeteners. Often used in natural remedies, honey is a great resource for the body. It helps improve immune systems, fight bacteria, and provides the body with healthy minerals like potassium. Like maple syrup, it doesn’t take much honey to sweeten a cup of coffee or tea. Go for a local honey if you also want to ease seasonal allergies.
Add some cocoa to your coffee grounds before you brew a cup for a chocolatey and cup of coffee. Not only is cocoa a good way to sweeten up your coffee, but it has been proven to help your brain focus and reduce stress. Cocoa flavanols activate certain compounds in coffee beans that help our bodies relax blood vessels (which helps release stressful energies). Add just a tablespoon of cocoa to a cup of coffee grounds for optimal results.
Fruit-flavored black teas are sweet, energizing, and good for you. The fruit naturally sweetens the tea and adds a nice layer of flavor you can’t get from simple sugars. Everything from orange black tea to berry-flavored teas can easily be found in local supermarkets. Berry teas are a good drink to incorporate into your diet. Berries contain important anti-oxidants that aid in fighting cancer-inducing properties in the body. Add some orange zest or berry syrup to your next cup for a hint of sweetness.
Sweetened Nut Milks
If you are looking to replace bad sugars and fatty cream, try an organic blend of nut milk and natural sweetener. From vanilla spiked almond milk to chocolate flavored soy milk, there are plenty of sweetened and healthy nut milks out there that can brighten up your coffee and tea. Nuts are packed with healthy monosaturated fats that help the body with things like digestion. Most nut milks have a naturally sweet flavor, but many brands have flavored options for those who like the sweeter things in life.
Sweeten up your tea or coffee drink with a few drops of vanilla extract, you can add it to your coffee grounds before you brew or add it to the pot afterwards. Don’t add more than a few drops otherwise it will overpower the other flavors. Vanilla isn’t everyone’s flavor; check out your local grocery store for other extract options. From orange to almond extract, there are lots of ways to bring a new and exciting flavor to your coffee or tea.
Agave is another sweetener that occurs naturally. The agave plant is best known as a tequila ingredient, but the nectar from the agave plant itself has many uses. Agave is not as sweet as maple syrup or honey, but it’s a mild, sweet alternative. Unlike refined sugars that spike your blood sugar quickly, agave stabilizes your blood sugar levels.
Did you know that you can sweeten up your drink with delectable dates? You can buy date paste at specialty stores or make your own date paste by soaking 2 cups of pitted dates in water overnight. Drain them the next day and blend them up for a flavorful paste. Dates are packed with good fibers and vitamins that your body craves. Enjoy the paste mixed into your next cup of coffee for a unique sweetened caffeine drink.
The next time you reach for that white sugar, remember that you have so many healthier sweet alternatives to choose from. It may require a bit of trial and error, but you will eventually find a healthy substitute for your cup of tea or coffee.