The pun isn’t even that good, but could I resist?
It should be no secret — and if you didn’t know, it’s time you did — that so much of wellness comes from making conscious choices about how you’ll construct your diet. And by “diet,” I don’t mean, “your calorie savings plan,” I just mean… what you eat, and when, and how. It’s not easy to make smarter or more efficient choices. It’s not convenient a lot of the time. But remembering to order your sandwich without cheese, or to use oil and vinegar on your salad, or to drink water instead of juice… these are all things that make a huge difference. One of my pet causes is trying to find ways to still enjoy sweet stuff and desserts in a healthier life — and one of my favorite indulgences? My caffeine.
What I want to write about today, y’all, is the latte.
At our house, we do love some strong caffeine. C drinks much more coffee than I do – but my poison is stronger than hers: I prefer espresso, and I prefer multiple shots of it in my latte, and I prefer to drink a latte every single morning. I don’t drink coffee again throughout the day — C might down four or five cups depending — I just drink the latte in the morning. And of course, as this ritual is singular AND starts my day, it matters to me that this daily ritual is done right and tastes right.
My love of lattes is so deep that for Christmas, C got me an espresso machine! It brews, froths, the works. I was and am ecstatic.
This gift serves many purposes:
- Lattes, without leaving home.
- Whatever type of milk I want! Chocolate. Soy. Almond. Whatever.
- If a storebought latte is $5, I estimate that brewing at home saves about $20 a week even after buying home brewing supplies — probably more, since a jar of espresso lasts longer than a week for estimations and syrups last for months.
- Whatever flavors I want! If this mawma wants a peppermint mocha latte in May, she gon’ have one.
- Total control over the caloric content of my drink.
- I am now also deep into making tea lattes in the evening.
These reasons are ALL great, friends. But the one I love the most: #5. When you have control over what goes into your food, you’re also controlling what goes into your body and you get to make conscious choices about where you want to splurge, where you don’t, etc. A healthier latte might mean some more dinner, or a bite of dessert, or the ability to have a glass of wine with friends while still hitting weight loss goals.
These things sound trivial, but they’re not: they’re the joys of which life is made, these little moments, and you can prepare for them and ENJOY THEM WITHOUT GUILT if you just make wise choices beforehand. Like, for example, becoming your own barista. You don’t even have to tip yourself. Or you could tip yourself. And save the tips. And buy something fancy. And then tell your spouse you bought it with hard earned tip money. And then have them wonder if you’ve been stripping. And then just let them wonder.
Being able to use sugar free flavor syrups and protein fortified fat free milk have enabled me to master the making of a 20 oz, triple shot, 70 calorie, sugar free latte that has 9.8g of protein and 4g carbs.
For those of you who love a good latte but hate sugar, carbs, calories and things that don’t contain protein… y’all know this is a miracle, right?
So how do I do it? Well, first off, the espresso machine.
But my ingredients are key:
- Fairlife fat free milk (protein fortified)
- Skinny Mix syrups
- No calorie sweetener, sometimes (Truvia)
I’ve linked them so you can go check out their options. They’re fantastic, those Skinny Mix flavors. I really love them, and have gotten savvy (thanks, years as a barista!) at flavor mixing to create good combinations.
My most recent triumph? Replicating a sugar free — though admittedly less thick/rich — counterpart to Starbucks’ amazing Coconutmilk Macchiato. It’s delicious (the Starbucks drink) but it is 270 calories for a large. Ugh. Mine is not as creamy, but I figured out the taste combo after creeping Starbucks’ ingredient list.
Ingredients I use (non-syrup):
- 3 shots of brewed espresso
- 3/4 cup of Fairlife fat free milk
Syrups I use:
- Coconut (2 Tbsp)
- White Chocolate (1 Tbsp)
- Salted Caramel Mocha (1 Tbsp)
Keep in mind that I am making a very large latte. These syrups would be too much in a smaller cup.
With a little snooping and effort, I was able to make the drink (or something similar) at home with much healthier results. Not a bad way to go, eh?
Obviously the latte machine is an expense not everyone can swing — I get that. If C hadn’t gifted me mine, I would never have one. That said, these syrups aren’t expensive and the milk ain’t either. I get something like 20 lattes from a $3.50 jar of espresso, 8 lattes from a half-gallon of Fairlife, and… jeez, I don’t even know — so far, like five months of nearly daily use out of my syrups. This is a move that, if you really love these drinks, saves you calories AND money over time.
Lesson: You could free yourself from the time, money AND caloric dent that most coffee places snatch from you if you just do a little planning, think outside the box, and experiment. I’m glad I did.
Behold, my Coconut/White Chocolate/Caramel concoction, here made more as a cappuccino in its milk pour than as a latte. I didn’t feel like holding the foam.