Enjoying coffee in your pajamas while you sit in the silence of your home. The coffee is decadent, and you ponder how you got such a great cup of coffee without leaving the house. You remember what you added to the large pour of coffee, and it dawns on you the number of calories! It is delicious because of the amount of sugar, cream and flavors that are masking the actual coffee flavor. Coffee can be a low-calorie healthy, yes healthy, beverage. The caffeine in coffee and tea can be beneficial to our health. Find out what makes coffee and tea a healthy option. Then elevate the health-effects of your hot beverage bar with these tips.


We know that coffee increases alertness, but is it good for you? Or at the very least, is it harmless? Coffee does have healthy properties. Coffee, after all, is a plant. Plants have antioxidants that fight against free radicals that cause inflammation. The caffeine and antioxidants may offer protection from metabolic syndrome and other disease. Namely, 2-3 cups of coffee a day may provide protection against Alzheimer’s.

In a world where our mental state is very fragile, it is good news to know that coffee might help. In a study it was found that depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption.  But when is there too much coffee? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s safe for most people to drink three to five cups (8 oz each) of coffee a day. This totals about 400 milligrams of caffeine. Note that the average cup of coffee has 95 mg whereas a Starbucks 8oz cup (“Short”) has 155 mg. Note that a medium (“Grande”) of 16 ounces has 310 mg of caffeine. This is just short of a whole day’s worth!

We all have different tolerance levels for caffeine. As noted in research about caffeine and alertness, you can still get some of the “potential health benefits by drinking one cup of coffee a day, or even by drinking decaffeinated coffee.” So get out the Sanka!


Tea consumption produces “similar alerting effects to coffee, despite lower caffeine levels, but is less likely to disrupt sleep”.    Tea can boost your immune system and fight back inflammation. There might be cancer prevention properties in the tea leaf. Depending how the tea leaf Camellia Sinensis (CS) is processed, we get white, green, or black tea. The processing impacts the health properties that we consume. For instance, white tea is the least processed tea leaf and possibly the most protective against cancer. Green tea has shown to have positive impacts to our cholesterol and blood pressure. Black tea may also be beneficial to heart health. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine unless it is a blend that contains CS. The different blends of spices, herbs or dried fruit within herbal tea blends possess various health properties.

Tips to Building a Healthier Bar


  • Coffee
  • Tea – Try some new teas such as Black, Green, White, or Herbal. Maybe try a new tea blend such as Chai. Try some hibiscus tea for a naturally sweet beverage. For a little chill, a quick glass of iced tea.


  • Non-Fat Milk or Creamer- Careful there is not added sugar in place of the fat.
  • Extracts – Vanilla, Almond, or Maple flavor – Use a small drop of extract instead of sugar laden syrups
  • Cinnamon or Cocoa powder – Put in a saltshaker and sprinkle on top of finished drink
  • Stevia or Monk fruit – If you need the sweetness try a natural sugar substitute. There are even flavored stevia liquids available now.

Continue reading September 2021 Newsletter: Snacking On-The-Go

Written by BWS Director of Nutrition Services- Crystal Petrello MS, RDN, LD