Now, I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to live without my lattes. Being from Seattle, they long ago became part of my morning routine, to the point where I eventually bought an espresso machine to save money! Going on a diet, any diet, and not being able to have my lattes is just painful. If you love your lattes as much as I do, here are some solutions for you.
First, just have it, with less milk. My boyfriend came home with a latte for me the other day, and I realized I had had such a low-carb breakfast that I could fit in the carbs if I only drank part of it. With a take-out latte, that was my only choice.
The next day at home, I made myself a similar breakfast – ham, mushroom, and cheese scrambled eggs. You could also add spinach or green onions, bacon, etc. If you add that up, it’s only a few carbs, around 3-4 gm. Regular milk has about 6-7 gm carbs and 3-4 gm protein in half a cup – so that’s what I used to make my home latte. Same amount of coffee – gotta have that – less milk. Tastes fine :) Most barristas would probably make it this way if you asked them.
Another obvious choice is to use soy milk, if you enjoy the taste. In my experience, it can be acquired (or you can get tired of it, fast). Most latte stands carry soy milk, but it’s often flavored or sweetened. That kind of soy milk can have just as many carbs as regular milk. Even “plain” soy milk sold in most stores has about equal carbs and protein – about 7 gm carbs and 6 gm protein in a cup. This is a lot less sugar than regular milk, but if you can find “unsweetened” soy milk, you’ll do even better – 2 gm carbs and 9 gm protein per cup. With that kind of soy milk you can have a normal-sized latte and at the same time, have it contribute substantially to your protein requirements for breakfast – which can be very helpful if you’re just not into cooking in the morning.
You can, of course, drink regular coffee or tea black. If you add a bit of milk or half-n-half, it probably won’t break your budget, just be sure to count what you add. Cream is free, and artificial sweeteners can be used if you’re comfortable with them. For a decadent version, try a couple of espresso shots with whipped cream (the real kind; whipped cream in a can has added carbs), sweetened with a tad of stevia, and topped with cinnamon or dark cocoa powder.
Last, you can consider whether another source of caffeine may work some mornings, when you’ve got enough carbs in the rest of your breakfast that you just can’t fit too many more in. Some of my friends and relatives have introduced me to organic and green teas that are good enough that I’ll occasionally substitute tea for coffee. I find that non-traditional teas such as green tea, herbal or fruit teas, or mint teas work best without any added dairy or sweeteners.
I’ve never been a soda drinker, and IMO, most sodas have nothing good for you in them, but as an occasional approach, a sugar-free soda with caffeine may work for you. Lastly, if you’re either making or buying protein shakes and having them for breakfast or lunch, a couple shots of espresso can easily be added to these, especially vanilla, cappuccino, or chocolate flavors.
I tend to mix it up with these various approaches in the morning, since I really function better with my one hit of caffeine :) Being able to have my “regular” latte now and then (slightly modified with less milk) is a nice treat, especially as a reward for actually cooking breakfast!