Flat white falling a little...flat? 

By Betty Gold
Updated September 01, 2020
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Waking up to a cup of coffee or three is a non-negotiable for many of us, myself included. Caffeine is crucial, but the process of making and enjoying coffee in the a.m. can help you ease into the headspace of whatever [insanity] is to ensue on any given day, too.

One way to derail all potentially relaxing elements of this routine? Drowning your otherwise perfect pour-over or espresso in sugar, syrupy stuff, and other chemical-ridden creamers. More likely than not, your should-be energy-boosting bev will leave you feeling sleepy, sluggish, and overcome with brain fog. If you’re tired of the same old cup coffee, skip the sweetener and try one of these delicious coffee upgrades from much-loved nutrition expert Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN.

Make DIY vanilla creamer.

Love coffee creamer? Make your own two-ingredient recipe with no added sugar by whipping up a naturally sweet DIY vanilla version. Simply mix one quarter cup of milk (or oat, almond, or soy milk) with a few drops of vanilla extract, then heat in the microwave for 20 seconds.

RELATED: 5 Clever Ways to Use Vanilla Extract That Don't Require Baking

Go for cocoa.

Sprinkle some cocoa powder right into your cup. You’ll get a delicious chocolate-flavored coffee and score some of the perks of cocoa flavanols—specifically, the heart-health benefits of improved blood flow.

Give your coffee some fizz.

If you feel like your coffee is a little flat, try a fizzy spin. Sparkling water will add a subtle effervescence to your iced coffee or cold brew without increasing its sugar, calories, or any artificial sweeteners. It’s also caffeine-free, so if you’re looking for a little lift without the full jolt, watering down your drink is a smart way to lower its caffeine content.

Spice up your cup.

Add a sprinkle of cinnamon into your coffee: it’ll add plenty of delicious flavor and zero grams of sugar. You can also combine cocoa powder and a dash of cinnamon for a mocha blend, or try a sprinkle of nutmeg instead. Another option: Add a dash of cayenne (warning: start sparingly) to your coffee grounds before brewing.

Mix in powdered peanut butter.

Power up your coffee with peanutty protein. Mix in two tablespoons of powdered peanut butter (ground peanuts that have been dehydrated) to your hot mug of coffee—it’s sugar-free and delivers 5 grams of satiating protein with some fiber, too.

RELATED: If Cold Brew Coffee Is Your Caffeinated Drink of Choice, Here's What You Should Know

Freeze it.

Keep your leftover coffee in your freezer for future iced beverages. Instead of tossing your old coffee, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Add a few “coffee cubes” to your next cup of java to create iced coffee that’s not watered down. You can even add spices or flavorings liked cinnamon or cocoa powder before freezing for extra zing.

Pick flavored pods over syrup.

Try some of the no-sugar-added flavored coffee beans or single-serving pods, like vanilla, mocha, and hazelnut. There are a ton of great brands that offer delicious flavors without any added sugar (real or fake). You can’t beat them for convenience factor, too.