Bikini Ready Tips: Coffee Drinks Decoded

I have a friend who ordered the same grande iced vanilla latte at Starbucks every morning for years. No questions asked. After having babies, she wanted to lose those few extra pounds to get back to her goal weight. I suggested cutting out that coffee every morning to see what would happen. And, guess what? She lost the weight. A lot of times your biggest calorie culprits are hidden...especially in those coffee drinks we know and love.

I've been guilty of this, too. I love a good latte and I'm not the biggest fan of drinking it straight black. Luckily, there are ways to still enjoy your coffee without sacrificing the taste. My nutritionist, Kelly LeVeque, has definitely helped me with this...and I'm forever thankful!

Here are Kelly's tips to help you cut out those hidden calories while still enjoying your morning vice:

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Tip #1: Don't Drink Too Much

Relying on coffee all day long can cause the release of adrenaline which increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, that can keep you from losing weight. Try to stick to one coffee a day in the morning and swap your afternoon cup of Joe for herbal tea.

Tip #2: Pick The Right Milk

There are multiple milk and milk alternatives available on the market but not all are created equal. If you choose to add dairy use organic half-and-half it's the lowest in sugar and carbohydrates and the fat will actually help calm hunger hormones as opposed to increasing them. Your skinny latte isn't skinny, nonfat milk is actually higher in sugar and it needs to be metabolized and managed with the storage hormone insulin. Go full fat! When it comes to milk alternatives ditch the soy. Soy is full of phytoestrogens that can create a hormonal imbalance in your body and lead to weight gain. If you go for coconut or almond milk choose the unsweetened version. Be aware, a number of coffee shops now use "barista" almond milk which is higher in sugar because it foams like a real milk latte. Snag your next almond milk latte at whole foods they use organic unsweetened almond milk.

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Tip #3: Skip The Sugar

Having sugar in your coffee can perpetuate your sugar cravings all day long. Adding chemicals sweeteners like Splenda, sweeten low and equal are highly addictive and can feed bad bacteria in the gut like yeast and candida. Alcohol sugars like xylitol can also feed candida and are known for GI distress including, bloating, gas and diarrhea. If you can't have your coffee in any other way opt for organic Stevia drops, monk fruit or Yukon syrup. They are all low or no calorie sweeteners made from whole food ingredients. Take note, Truvia is a mix of alcohol sugar and stevia, not just stevia.

Tip #4: Fatten It Up

If you decide to partake in the bulletproof coffee trend, remember it's meant to be a meal. It was created to help you skip breakfast and keep fasting, you continue to burn fat because you only consume fat and fat doesn't cause the release of insulin. It's a fun new alternative but it's not to be enjoyed with a side of pancakes or even a protein bar.

Iced coffee fan? Go for cold brew, it's less acidic that hot brewed coffee and loaded with antioxidants. Click here for a recipe you can make at home! 

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Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.