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What’s in your coffee cup?

I’ve fulfilled my intern duties with a coffee run. Iced Americanos for everyyyyyyybody!

Iced Americanos with nonfat milk // healthy coffee options (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Now that we have the office on an espresso high, let’s get to talking about WHAT WE’RE PUTTING IN OUR COFFEE CUPS.

I tend to assume everyone is as obsessed with coffee as me. Tea drinkers are in denial….I will convert you! ;) just kidding, steep on my herb-loving friends.

Today I’m looking at the fun, fancy and fattening ingredients that invade our coffee cups and sabotage our indulgence.

If coffee is a daily (or, you know, hourly) occurrence, then the sugary and fatty additions will add up quickly. ***If a caramel frappuccino is a twice-a-year treat, then girrrl you get that whip cream!***

Healthy coffee alternatives (stronglikemycoffee.com)

The cup of coffee itself, the heavenly-scented and dark-roasted liquid crack, begins with an innocent 5 calories plus metabolism-boosting properties. Drinking your coffee BLACK is probably the “healthiest” way to go. (I recommend sipping through a straw though to save your teeth!)

Let’s be honest though…..black coffee is no fun.

Not when there are 168534 possible combinations of flavors and styles for the caffeinated concoction.

My personal FAVE of the moment: Iced Americano with non-fat or almond milk plus a packet of stevia. Yummmm. This particular combo is fat-free/sugar-free. Primarily espresso, water and ice. The milk will add 10-50 calories depending on how dark you like it.

Creating a healthier coffee cup (stronglikemycoffee.com)Coffee Toppers:

Whip Cream: topping off hot chocolate or fraps with whip cream adds 120 calories and 13 grams of fat.

**Alternative: ask for extra foam. Frothy and delicious :)

Caramel or Chocolate drizzle: sugar sugar sugar = empty calories. Just skip it.

Flavored Syrups: A grande latte is fun, but a vanilla latte is better…..flavored syrup adds 25 grams of sugar and 140 calories to a grande latte. That more than DOUBLES the sugar and calorie content of the drink.

**Alternative: ask for 2 pumps (a grande usually contains 4 pumps) of a sugar-free vanilla/hazelnut/cinnamon flavor.

….CUE the anti-artifical sweetener frenzy…..

I know, I KNOW. How can I condone “sugar-free” syrup with all of its chemicals and artifical sweeteners? Isn’t it basic Health 101 that “sugar-free” does not mean healthy?! Well, I abandoned 100% clean-eating last month so I am not a strict stickler for absolute commitment to unprocessed ingredients.

I look at it like this: for me personally, a coffee shop latte is a treat. Twice a month, maybe. So like most indulgences, the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is indulging in moderation and making healthy swaps when available. Two pumps of sugar-free syrup will not turn my healthy diet upside down, nor will it cause immediate digestive consequences.

However other alternatives include sweetening your brew with some stevia or a drizzle of honey.

Is soy milk a better choice than skim?

I had to do a little research on this. For lightening my at-home brew, I opt for almond milk because it is creamy and adds very few calories. It’s rarely an option at coffee shops though. Soy is typically available, so how healthy is the non-dairy alternative?

When it comes down to it, skim milk is lower in fat and higher in protein than soy milk. So unless you have an aversion to lactose, soy milk is not superior to skim milk.

Missy loves her coffee (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Okay your turn. How do you pump up your coffee?

Food Journal vs. Intuitive Eating

Goodafternoon blog friends :)

My favorite part about this month….JUNE GLOOM. Overcast mornings are unbeatable for 5:00am runs & I welcome the clouds!

As I blogged about last week, my summer workout schedule is off to a cardio-crazy start. Most days I run before and after work, squeezing in as many miles as I can on and off the treadmill. My goals right now for the summer:

  • get into the same running condition I was in last summer. Avoiding injuries of course ;) I was able to run 16 miles at a comfortable 7:25min/mile pace, and always felt proud and accomplished with my workouts. This summer I will log miles to build my “base,” increase my long run distance, and train for a few 5k races this fall.
  • Undo a few lbs. I added during the last month of school from stress & social eating. Back to the clean routine and it feels good!

A few key things? ‘Injury prevention,’ ‘hydration,’ and ‘nutrition’ are BUZZ words for athletes. We cannot get enough info & lectures on each. Because they are so ridiculously important!

Injury Prevention is a topic for another day.

Hydration is pretty easy.

Nutrition is my favorite thing to read/learn/experiment/talk about.

Food Journaling vs. Intuitive Eating (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I am a fan of keeping a food journal. The easiest way for me is to use an Excel spreadsheet to track my meals, calories and workouts. Though my meals and snacks are usually nutritious and healthy, overeating or oversnacking will inevitably lead to incremental weight gain. Even if “extra calories” come in the form of something clean and nutritious such as cashews or avocados. More calories consumed than burned = weight gain.

Many fellow bloggers have been praising the Intuitive Eating style. I recently started noticing a trend which abandons calorie tracking, using “intuition” or “instinct” to dictate when/what/how much we eat. Yes, some people find calorie counting or food journaling stressful or time consuming. I think there are pro’s to both approaches of nutritional decisions. But speaking for myself, if I were to use “intuition” to dictate my diet, the results would be ugly. Hormones and cravings would “instinctively” tell me to load up on sodium, carbs, sugar, fat. Stress and boredom would lead me to intuitively decide I am in need of triple chunk peanut butter mocha brownie ice cream.  The mid-day sleepies would yell at me to chug another latte….and better grab that peanut butter cookie there just in case. Protein, ya know.

What I mean is, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between my body’s instinctive request for certain nutrients and pure hormone-driven cravings. Anyone else feel the same? The sweet tooth is way to active to be trusted for “Intuitive Eating.” ;)

Because of my work schedule and commute, I am gone from home from 7:00am to 5:00pm. That is 10 hours, 2 meals, and a couple snacks. In order to bypass vending machines, break-room snacks and impulse buys, I pack a cooler FULL of fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, oatmeal, nuts, and other snacks.

Clean Eating - packing meals and snacks for work (stronglikemycoffee.com)

A typical week-day looks like this:

  • 4:40am Coffee with almond milk the instant I wake up
  • 6:00am 1/2 Luna bar after a run/HIIT workout
  • 8:00am Breakfast: Oats with berries or banana slices
  • 10:30am Apple slices
  • 12:30pm Lunch: Yogurt with fruit and almond slivers; veggie slices and homemade roasted red pepper hummus
  • 2:30pm Snack: Protein bar OR crackers OR mixed nuts; plus another piece of fruit (grapes, pear, peach, pineapple, watermelon)
  • 7:30pm Dinner: typically 2 vegetables, a lean protein (with some sauce or seasoning), brown rice or sweet potato
  • Post-dinner: right now, nothing. Only until I reverse my end-of-semester splurges ;) when I’m at my goal weight, desserts vary from popcorn, a cup of hot chocolate, Dove dark chocolate squares or a big bowl of strawberries!

Clean Eating Fiesta Sweet Potato (stronglikemycoffee.com)

The amount of produce my family buys is unreal. This week we have blueberries & strawberries for oatmeal additions. Bananas for yogurts toppers or smoothies. Grapes and apples for midday snacks. Carrots, bell peppers, celery and cucumbers for hummus-dippers and salad-toppers. Tons of other veggies to steam, saute, roast or grill with dinner. Plus watermelon and cantalope for desserts. Our fridge is so colorful!

We are so fortunate to live in a country where this abundance of healthy fresh food is available.

Food journaling helps me stay on track to reach my goals. It provides a clear picture of how my calories/carbs/proteins/fats are distributed through out the day.

Are you team Food Journal or Intuitive Eating?

 

Girls Shopping Day + A Cooler Lunch

Officially 2 weeks from the first day of sophomore year, which means Back to School Sales are in full-bloom and I have last semester’s paychecks still burning a hole in my pocket.  My mom and I always have fun shopping and usually devote a whole day to store-hop to our hearts’ content.

The food courts or restaurants don’t really appeal to us. We don’t eat greasy heavy food at home, so why would we when we are out?  We packed our own lunch and snacks in a cooler to enjoy in between stores! We left the house at 9, taking a mug of coffee. But it warmed up well in to the 100s and we were thankful for a cold lunch and ice cold drinks.

The “To-Go” Menu

Travel food! On the menu: We shared a turkey and spinach sandwich on Orowheat bread with mustard, a bag of apple slices, and bell pepper slices. For a crunchy snack, rice crisps (BBQ flavor) and later we split a Lemon Zest Luna Bar (we love our luna bars!).

It was a good amount of food to have throughout the day & we definitely didn’t have the urge to splurge on any fat, I mean fast, food.

HYDRATION: It was a scorcher and we needed to stay hydrated to stay energized so we filled a giant cooler jug with iced Tazo passion tea & another tumbler with water.

I’m ready to SHOP!

Not only did we save a ton of calories, we saved money as well! (More to spend on a new pair of sunglasses right?!) Besides, who wants the bloated feeling after eating a burger and fries when going shopping and trying on new pairs of jeans and dresses?

It was a successful outing and I can’t wait to start wearing some of my new finds in a couple of weeks!

A sample of my purchases during back to college shopping :) I couldn’t resist the owl mug!

Have a happy healthy Monday!

GOOD NEWS: I will be dropping some “baggage” & changing the URL of my site to stronglikemycoffee.com starting Thursday! (No more stronglikemycoffee.wordpress.com after Thursday!)

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