Chances are, a tub of Coffee-mate or a carton of half-and-half cream is a staple in your office pantry or fridge. Whether it’s to whiten your morning java or to make it taste creamier, you use whatever’s available. After all, it’s free. But have you given much thought what’s actually in those coffee creamer?
Do You Know What’s In Your Coffee Creamer?
Powder or liquid commercially-prepared creamer like Coffee-mate
We are not big fans of commercially-prepared creamers for two reasons: They are not natural (their ingredient list is long, with lots of ingredients that require a dictionary to understand), and some of them contain trans fat. Don’t be fooled by the 0 trans fat claim. Check the ingredient list and you may find partially hydrogenated oil on the list.
- Calories per 2 tablespoons: 40 – 90
A tablespoon of table cream contains 30, and half-and-half contains 20 calories. They are definitely more natural than Coffee-mate, but they contain relatively high saturated fat.
- Calories per 2 tablespoons: 40 – 60
Different (Healthier) Ways to Enjoy Your Coffee
The European Way
The French, Italian, and Spanish all have their own versions of their morning drink (cafe au lait, caffe latte, and cafe con leche, respectively), but they all enjoy their coffee with milk. If your main goal is to whiten your coffee, try low-fat milk like 1%, or even skim. If you absolutely must have something creamier, try whole milk.
- Calories per 2 tablespoons: 10 (skim) – 20 (whole)
The Asian Way
Asians, especially South-East Asians, love evaporated milk. It is their kitchen staple! We love that it is lower in fat than table cream and it still tastes so creamy. Canned evaporated milk comes in full-fat, 2%, and fat-free.
- Calories per 2 tablespoons: 25 – 40
The Vegetarian Way
You are likely aware of the health benefits of soy products and are looking for every possible ways to include more soy in your diet. You may like to try Silk Soy Creamer. Better yet, with even less fat, try plain soymilk.
- Calories per 2 tablespoons: 13 (soymilk) – 30 (soy creamer)
Drink it Black
After all, coffee is touted as “health food” as it’s packed with antioxidants. The general consensus is that drinking one or two cups a day won’t cause any harm. So why not drink coffee black?
- Calories added: 0
- Nutrition Faceoff: Coffee Creamers
- Cutting Calories Made Easy
- Trans Fats 101 – What and Where?
- 7 Tips to Make Your Fancy Coffee Healthier
- How to Find a Decaf Coffee You’ll Actually Enjoy
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.