Coffee is an essential part of many college students' mornings

Coffee is an essential part of many college students' mornings.

It’s hard to kickstart your morning without help from a cup of coffee. I can’t resist it myself. College made me dependent on it, but what we shouldn’t depend on is all the calories coming with it. Here are five simple tips on how to get through the day without all the add-ins.

1. Reduce the sugar

Sugar makes the dark roast taste a little sweeter and sometimes it’s hard not to overdose on it. To cut back, try a little less sugar each time. Even 1/2 teaspoon at a time each week can make a difference. Eventually, you won’t realize the change. Also, Stevia is a great natural alternative to sugar.

2. Milk

Try the fat-free. Unlike skim milk, it's creamy, has about the same amount of calories and you won't taste the difference. If this doesn’t seem appealing, try starting with half-and-half, then whole milk, then reduce to 2% and so on and you’ll eventually make it to skim or even almond milk.

3. Flavors

Try flavored coffee. Rather than adding the flavor, the coffee is brewed with it. If you find one you really love, you might be able to cut the cream and sugar altogether.

4. Brew on your own

We all know it’s easiest to run through the Dunkin drive-thru or order to-go on your Starbucks app, but the added pumps of flavor are no help. You’ll be surprised at all the cash you’re saving with your Keurig or brewing your own pot, which is even cheaper than the k-cups.

5. Drink it black

For some, this is easier said than done, but drinking it black cuts the calorie count down to zero. I’m not advising you to drop the add-ins instantly, but if you can make your way to a black cup every once in awhile you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It can actually speed up your metabolism.

So if you’re a coffee addict and refuse to give it up, don’t worry, you don’t have to. Just reduce tossing in the extra sugars and creamers because realistically, you're just tossing in the calorie count. These small changes will keep you caffeinated without the side effects of sugar and added calories.

Maria Keuler is a junior media arts and design major. Contact Maria at keulermc@dukes.jmu.edu.

Maria Keuler is a senior media arts & design and Spanish double major. She writes about what she loves — fitness and a healthy lifestyle. If all goes as planned with her future, you'll catch her on TV in the mornings broadcasting your local news.