Eating / But first, I need a coffee!

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coffee lrI OFTEN wonder how the Canberra population manages to sustain the number of cafes in our city and suburbs, but then I know very well how much Canberrans love their coffee.

Clare Wolski.
Clare Wolski.

Whether you’re grabbing a coffee on the way to work or sitting back in Lycra after a morning bunch, check your brew and see if it could be better for your health.

Espresso: Reserved for the true coffee aficionado (or the those approaching a tight deadline). How to make it better:

  • Limit intake to two to three cups a day. High intake of caffeine can impact sleep patterns, which has impact on concentration, stress, weight management and cardiovascular health.  
  • Have it with a glass of water (or two). Caffeine has a diuretic effect and consuming large amounts of coffee without adequate fluid intake can leave you dehydrated.

Long black: Usually made by topping off a single or double shot of espresso with hot water. The long black is the cuppa with the lowest kJ content. How to make it better:

  • Avoid adding sugar. Sugar will increase the kJ content of the beverage and gives no health benefits.
  • Limit intake to two to three cups a day (one to two if double shot).

Flat white / latte / cappuccino: Milk contains carbohydrates and protein, which provide fuel for the brain and muscles, and help to keep you full, making a milky coffee an energy boosting snack on its own. Be mindful of the size and number of milky coffees you have each day. How to make it better:

  • Downsize to a small or swap to a piccolo – a smaller size is likely to be just as satisfying.
  • Opt for light milk. This simple swap reduces the kJ content of your coffee
  • Avoid added sugars and sweeteners. Over time your taste buds will become accustomed to less sugar.
  • Avoid buying a cake or biscuit with it.

Mocha or flavoured latte: Delicious though a caramel latte can be, flavoured coffees contain a considerable amount of added sugar. Slowly moving towards unsweetened coffees will help your tastebuds adjust and will be better for your waistline. How to make it better:

  • Ask for half the amount of flavouring.
  • Add cinnamon or cocoa instead.
  • Opt for light milk.
  • Downsize to a smaller size.
  • Save for special occasions

Instant coffee: A daily staple for many and everyone makes theirs a little differently. How to make it better:

  • Swap to decaf or or a herbal tea in the afternoon.
  • Reduce or remove added sugar.
  • Add a teaspoon of cocoa, cinnamon or vanilla essence for flavour without extra sugar.

Most importantly… enjoy! Really, really enjoy your coffee. Whatever your choice, savour the whole experience and finish feeling satisfied.

Clare Wolski is an practising dietitian at The Healthy Eating Hub, call 6174 4663.

 

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