BLOG: As a nutrition professional I get asked quite frequently whether coffee is actually a healthy morning habit. And my answer is yes, as long as you are doing it right! Coffee itself is a great source of many vitamins, minerals and disease fighting antioxidants. Yet, the benefits poured into your morning cup can quickly be replaced by extra fat and calories if you are not careful.
Coffee beans are actually the seeds of plants belonging to the Coffea family. Each seed, or bean, is dried, milled, roasted, ground and brewed before ever reaching your cup. This elaborate process exposes the beans to very high temperatures that allow nutrients to be released and concentrated in a way unlike many other foods.
And because coffee originates from a plant, it contains high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that remove the damage every day life takes on our bodies, reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Coffee also contains caffeine, a stimulant used to wake the body up. When consumed in moderation caffeine can also slightly increase your metabolism, which allows you to get more energy from the food you eat.
So what is not to love? The trouble with coffee is that much of its nutritional value is changed when adding cream, sugar or milk. One eight-ounce cup of coffee contains nearly zero calories or fat. However, add just one tablespoon of cream and sugar and your cup is already one hundred calories with six grams of fat. It is easy to see how the nutritional benefits of coffee can be outweighed (literally!) when ordering a sugary latte topped with whipped cream.
But this is why I love the way Stewart’s does coffee, no ordering needed! Stewart’s allows you to make your own cup and puts you in control of just how much cream, sugar or milk you would like to add. Of course the healthiest way to drink your morning joe would be to add a few tablespoons of fresh, low fat milk. But even using moderate amounts of half and half will only contribute twenty calories per tablespoon. And when you pour your own cup, you can add just a teaspoon of cream to get that smooth texture without going overboard. By putting yourself in charge of what goes into your coffee you can not only personalize the taste of your cup, but the health of your cup as well!
Making a quick morning stop at my local Stewart’s Shop, I have realized that most people already know exactly what they would like in their cup. The pot is already freshly brewed and I find that self-service is faster than the drive-thru every time. Even faster, are the yogurt parfaits and fresh fruit you can grab in the cooler on your way to the register. In fact by stopping at Stewart’s, you might be able to get an extra ten minutes of sleep or healthy relaxation before you even start your day!
-Christine Sloat, RD, RDN
Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York.
She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, with clinical training at Albany Medical Center. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.