Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
Buying iced coffee drinks even a few times a week can get pretty pricey. And the high calorie price tags are nothing to sneeze at either. Why bother when you can make them at home? Personalize your java on the rocks with these must-have ingredients:
Coffee granules are incredibly useful when it comes to making iced coffee. You won’t have to contend with ice cubes watering down your cup of hot coffee. Dissolve instant coffee in a little bit of hot water, and add cold water to balance it out. If you prefer freshly brewed coffee, just add some instant for extra strength, to combat the ice cube effect. By the way, my favorite instant coffee by far is Starbucks VIA Instant.
Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
Half & half creamer and even regular milk can add serious calories to your java drink, especially if you like iced lattes. That’s why I love unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Only around 30 calories in an entire cup! And the vanilla adds a subtle hint of flavor. This stuff is also great for cereal, baking, smoothies, and more.
Natural No-Calorie Sweetener
Sugar is a calorie bomb, but many of us prefer to limit artificial sweeteners these days. Natural calorie-free sweeteners to the rescue! I like stevia-based sweeteners, like the ones from Truvia and SweetLeaf. There are also natural no-calorie sweeteners made with monk fruit. Find your favorite!
Stock up on the basics (hi, vanilla), the more advanced (think peppermint and almond), and the unexpected (rum and maple extracts do exist!). Take some time in the baking aisle to see what’s available. Or poke around online; Amazon is a great source for the hard-to-find stuff. Get creative with the flavors you add to your coffee. You can customize your cup each day.
Fairly obvious, I know. I’m a bit of an ice snob, though, and I’m crazy about crushed ice. But that’s not my only ice obsession. Try this trick: Freeze some coffee in an ice cube tray ahead of time, and you won’t have to worry about watering down your chilled morning beverage. Coffee cubes for the win!
WATCH THIS: How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Bonus: Light Whipped Topping
For that coffee shop flair, add a dollop of Skinny Truwhip or So Delicious CocoWhip! Light. Neither contain hydrogenated oils (unlike some whipped toppings) and they can be found in the freezer section of select grocers and natural food markets. So much yum!
‘Til next time… Chew (and sip!) the right thing!