Everybody eats: Caffeine fix with fewer calories

Where did spring go?

I know the calendar says June, but doesn’t it seem like the summer started early this year? Perhaps this is Mother Nature’s way of apologizing for the long winter we had to endure.

While I am in complete favor of sandals instead of three layers of socks, the heat does mean I need to make some concessions, coffee being one of them.

I still need my fix, but I stopped drinking regular coffee a few weeks ago, opting for the iced variety.

Bright side? Not only do I get my caffeine boost, but a nice cool down as I walk back to the office.

Not-so-bright side? Excessive calories.

It was a sad day when restaurants started listing the calorie count of their drinks on the menu. I’m not against making an informed choice, but it’s tougher to justify a 600-calorie frothy drink when I normally don’t digest that many calories in a meal. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have a high calorie snack, I’d rather use it on a s’more during a family cookout than a midafternoon coffee run.

That being said, there are some days when an iced coffee is the only thing that will get me through the day. Luckily, I found a low-calorie option.

Marlene Koch’s “Eat What You Love: More than 300 Incredible Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat, and Calories” is a great cookbook for anyway who wants to cut calories from their diet without giving up the foods they love or, like me, they have other people they cook for who aren’t huge fans of baked chicken several days in a row. I tend to use the cookbook when I’m in a baking mood, but the beverages chapter is my new best friend.

“Eat What You Love” includes recipes for several low-calories, great-for-summer, drinks, including sweet tea and spritzer. Marlene’s Mocha Freeze is by far my favorite. One serving has 115 calories, it’s easy to make, it tastes great and — bonus — it is wallet-friendly, too.

And it will get you past that afternoon slump.


Serves 1

2 teaspoons instant coffee (regular or decaffeinated)

1/3 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup non-fat half-and-half

3 tablespoons Splenda granulated sweetener

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

3/4 cup crushed ice

1/4 cup light, no-sugar-added ice cream (vanilla or chocolate)

Measure the coffee into a blender. Pour the water over the coffee to dissolve.

Add the half-and-half, sweetener, cocoa powder, and half the ice. Blend to mix. Add the rest of the ice. Blend on high until thoroughly combined.

Add the ice cream and give a quick blend just until smooth.

Source: “Eat What You Love: More than 300 Incredible Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat, and Calories” by Marlene Koch (Running Press Book Publishers; 2009)

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