5 Replacements for Your Morning Coffee
Coffee is apart of most Americans' morning rituals. In the United States, Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day.1 We really love the stuff! However, for some people, coffee can have some negative side effects. If you have diabetes, the caffeine in coffee may actually spike your blood sugar. Some people may experience this blood sugar spike from coffee, while others may not.
Alternatives to coffee
If you're someone that does experience negative side effects from a cup of joe, don't fret; there are many other drinks that can serve as an alternative to your morning coffee.
Teecchino is a company that makes caffeine-free, roasted herbal tea bags that are meant to mimic the taste of the coffee. The main ingredients in Teecchino are roasted dandelion root, chicory, and carob, which gives the tea a taste similar to coffee. The company has many flavors modeled after flavors and different roasts of coffee, including dark roast, french vanilla, hazelnut, mocha, and caramel nut. Another plus, there are no added sugars in the tea bags. I love drinking a warm mug of Teecchino in the afternoon when it is too late in the day for caffeine. My favorite flavor is the dandelion mocha mint!
I personally have not tried this brand yet, but I have heard good reviews from other people. Similar to Teecchino, Dandy Blend uses roasted dandelion root, barley, rye, and chicory to mimic the roasted, nutty flavor of coffee. It is also caffeine-free, and can be used to make just a hot cup of it, or used in lattes, shakes, smoothies, and baking.
Herbal tea or low caffeine tea
There are so many delicious herbal teas out there that are worth drinking first thing in the morning. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine (check the packaging to make sure), and often have benefits of their own. Other teas like green, oolong, white, earl grey and black tea do contain caffeine, but all are lower in caffeine than coffee. Certain teas like matcha green tea, yerba mate, pu'erh tea, and some black teas do have higher amounts of caffeine, so this is something to be mindful of if you are watching your caffeine intake.
A few of my favorite herbal teas: peppermint, ginger, hibiscus, licorice, turmeric, cinnamon vanilla.
Hot cacao or cocoa
Hot chocolate can be rich and delicious, without the sugar. I discovered cacao powder years ago, and cacao is different than cocoa because it is less processed. Cacao powder has a stronger, richer flavor, and contains minerals like magnesium and iron. For a comforting, chocolatey drink that is reminiscent of coffee, I like to heat up 1 cup of unsweetened hemp or coconut milk and mix in a heaping tablespoon of cacao with a hand frother. To sweeten, you can use a few drops of monk fruit sweetener or stevia to make the beverage taste sweet without the added sugar. If you don't have cacao, you can also use cocoa or carob powder. Cacao does contain around 12 mg of caffeine per tablespoon, which is much lower than coffee and caffeinated teas.
Half decaf or full decaf coffee
This is the more obvious option for a caffeinated coffee replacement, but it is still important to note. If you are out at your favorite coffee shop and can't resist the delicious smell of coffee, ordering half decaf or fully decaf might be a good option for you. I find this option is a good compromise between avoiding caffeine but still being able to enjoy the taste of coffee. Since espresso is a highly caffeinated form of coffee, I like to order a half-decaf iced Americano with a splash of non-dairy milk. Check out some coffee shop drink ideas if you find yourself wondering what to order next time you’re at a coffee house.
Suspect coffee is spiking your blood sugar?
Coffee can feel like a vital part of your morning, but unfortunately, it can cause unwanted side effects. If you think coffee is a culprit for spiking your blood sugar, it may be wise to test yourself 1-2 hours after consuming a caffeinated beverage. If coffee does appear to spike your blood sugar, then one of these options may be a good replacement or way to decrease the amount of coffee you drink.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?