Q: Is it OK to use two to three tablespoons of half-and-half in my coffee instead of skim or 1% milk?

Expert Samantha B. Cassetty, M.S., R.D., Nutritional Director, GHRI explains why milk is a better choice for your morning coffee.

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Sam says: At 20 calories per tablespoon, half-and-half actually has twice the calories of whole milk. If you’re keeping calories steady by following our 7 Years Younger weight-loss plan, that amount once a day won’t derail you. But more than two to three tablespoons a day and the calories will start to add up. I suggest you try to kick the half-and-half habit by mixing a tablespoon of the rich stuff with a tablespoon (or two) of 2% milk. Once your taste buds adjust to the blend, eliminate the half-and-half and try the same approach until you’re only using 1% milk.

Another option – and the one that I choose for my morning pick-me-up – is to go with an alternative to cow’s milk. My favorite is soy milk, but almond milk can stand up to coffee, too. Just be sure to select something that has no more than 100 calories per cup – the same as 1% milk. The rich flavors in these beverages mean a couple of tablespoons go a long way.