Want a Healthy Coffee Creamer? Know the Best and Worst Options

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That moment the creamer hits the coffee only gets better when your add-in is dietitian-approved.
Image Credit: evrim ertik/iStock/GettyImages

For some of us, creamer is what makes that morning cup of coffee worth drinking (aside from coffee's caffeine boost, of course).

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But not all coffee creamers are created equal, and if you've ever stood at the dairy aisle in the supermarket, you know there are more than plenty to choose from.

What Defines a 'Healthy' Coffee Creamer?

When it comes to finding a healthy coffee creamer, it's important to consider the product's sugar content.

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Many mainstream brands have upwards of 5 to 6 grams of sugar per tablespoon, which can really add up and is a lot before you've even had breakfast. And keep in mind that we should be limiting added sugars to no more than 10 percent of our total calories per day (so that's 100 calories or 25 grams of sugar per 1,000 calories you eat).

Are You Eating Too Much Sugar? Track your daily nutrients by logging your meals on the MyPlate app. Download now to fine-tune your diet today!

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You'll also want to be wary of so-called "sugar-free" varieties, which are often made with artificial sweeteners — something many people want to avoid. There's also a host of inventory that are made with a laundry list of ingredients that no one needs to drink first thing in the morning,

To make things a little easier on you in the a.m. — especially ​before​ you've had your coffee — we've pulled together some of the more nutritionally sound creamer options, along with a few products that you'll want to limit.

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5 Healthy Coffee Creamers to Buy

If you're shopping for healthy creamer for coffee, look to these low-calorie, low-sugar brands.

1. Califia Farms Dairy-Free Better Half Original

In addition to this line, Califia creamers come in various lines, such as a keto creamer, a barista blend and an oat-based creamer.

Nutrition per serving (2 tablespoons): 20 calories, 1.5 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 30 milligrams sodium, 1 gram carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, 1 gram added sugar), 0 grams protein

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Califia Dairy-Free Better Half creamers are available in four flavors: Unsweetened, Original, Vanilla and Hazelnut. They're coconut cream- and almond milk-based, which gives the creamer a thicker consistency, allowing it to mix well with coffee.

We love that the vanilla and hazelnut flavors have no added sugars — they're sweetened with monk fruit juice concentrate. The original flavor does have cane sugar added, but the amount is minimal — just one gram per two tablespoons (many other sweetened creamers have 10 times that amount).

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Buy it​​:Amazon; ​Price:​ $19.68 per 6-pack

2. Elmhurst Unsweetened Oat Creamer

Elmhurst Unsweetened Oat Creamer has a simple ingredient list that makes it dietitian-approved.

Nutrition per serving (1 tablespoon): 10 calories, 0.5 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, 1 gram carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 0 gram sugar, 0 gram added sugar), 0 grams protein

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What we love most about this sugar-free creamer is its simple ingredient list. The unsweetened flavor has just water, whole-grain oats, hemp seeds and less than two percent of added minerals and natural flavors. This product doesn't contain any added gums, to which some people can be sensitive.

Better yet, the creamer is shelf-stable until opened, meaning you can stock up on a few without having to crowd the fridge. If you like flavored creamer, they have Vanilla, Chai (the best!) and Hazelnut, which are lightly sweetened with just 1 gram of sugar per tablespoon.

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Buy it​​:Elmhurst; ​Price:​ $11.98 per 2-pack

3. Chobani Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer

If you enjoy a little sweetness to your creamer, Chobani's Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer will do the trick.
Image Credit: Chobani

Nutrition per serving (1 tablespoon): 30 calories, 1.5 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 4 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein

This one is higher in added sugars — 4 grams per tablespoon — so you'll want to be mindful of your portions here. If your diet tends to be low in added sugar, enjoying a tablespoon or two in your coffee is OK, but striking a balance and staying within the recommendations are key. One of the major pluses of this creamer is its short ingredient list: milk, cream, cane sugar and natural flavors. That's it!

Buy it:Amazon; ​Price​: $4.69 each

4. Nut Pods Original Unsweetened Creamer

Nut Pods' low-calorie coffee creamer comes in an oat variety, as well.

Nutrition per serving (1 tablespoon): 10 calories, 1 gram fat (0 gram saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, 0 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein

This Nut Pods creamer blends coconuts and almonds to achieve its creaminess. This dairy-free option is Whole30-approved and available in four flavors: Original, French Vanilla, Hazelnut and Caramel.

Nut Pods also puts out limited-edition flavors like Cinnamon Swirl and Classic Chocolate, which have zero added sugars and are free of artificial sweeteners, so keep an eye out if you're intrigued.

Buy it​​:Amazon; ​Price:​ $14.95 per 4-pack

5. So Delicious Organic Coconut Milk Creamer

So Delicious Organic Coconut Milk Creamer contains just five ingredients, none of which are added sugars or oils.
Image Credit: So Delicious

Nutrition per serving (1 tablespoon): 15 calories, 1 gram fat (1 gram saturated fat), 10 milligrams sodium, 0 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein

This organic coconut milk creamer is everything your coffee has been missing. It's creamy and has just five ingredients. It's also free of added sugars and oils. So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamers also come in vanilla and caramel flavors, which are sweetened with organic cane sugar and 3 grams of added sugar per tablespoon.

Buy it​​:Amazon; ​Price:​ $4.69 each

Skip These 3 Coffee Creamers

1. Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Creamer

While Sbux creamers come in a variety of flavors like Pumpkin Spice and Cinnamon Dolce, you’ll be better off going with one of our approved picks.

Nutrition per serving (1 tablespoon): 40 calories, 1.5 gram fat (1 gram saturated fat), 5 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 6 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein

There may be better ways to satisfy a sweets craving than opting for one of Starbucks' new at-home creamers. Nutritionally speaking, none of their creamers are all that impressive; in fact, we can't recommend any of them. They're high in added sugar with about 6 grams per tablespoon.

2. CoffeeMate Funfetti Creamer

This comes in other flavors like Snickers, Cookies and Cream, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Crème Brulee — which you’ll want to avoid, too.

Nutrition per serving (1 tablespoon): 35 calories, 1.5 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 5 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 5 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein

OK, any creamer named after a boxed cake and frosting is probably not going to win many health points. This creamer contains artificial flavors (Funfetti isn't all that natural, after all) as well as 5 grams of sugar per tablespoon.

3. International Delight Zero Sugar Caramel Macchiato

Keep this low-calorie, sugar-free creamer on the supermarket shelves.

Nutrition per serving (1 tablespoon): 20 calories, 1 gram fat (1 gram saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, <1 gram carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar), 0 grams protein

Don't let the "zero sugar" fool you into thinking this is a healthy option. This is usually a sign that a product features artificial sweeteners, as this pick does. If you want to limit your sugar intake but are still looking for a little sweetness in your coffee, opt for a stevia- or monk fruit-sweetened option instead.

Common Questions About Coffee Creamers

1. What Is the Healthiest Coffee Creamer?

The most nutritious coffee creamers are those that are low in sugar and low in calories. These all fit the bill:

  • Nut Pods Original Unsweetened Creamer
  • Califia Farms Dairy-Free Better Half Original
  • Elmhurst Unsweetened Oat Creamer

2. Is Half-and-Half Healthier Than Creamer?

Both half-and-half and creamer can fit into a healthy, balanced diet.

Depending on the brand, creamer is usually non-dairy and is made with a mix of water, vegetable oil and flavorings. Because creamer is plant-based, it often contains less saturated fat than half-and-half, which is dairy-based (unless the creamer is made with coconut milk, which contains a fair amount of saturated fat).

Half-and-half is less processed than creamer and contains fewer ingredients, but it's usually also more caloric, with two tablespoons amounting to 40 calories (and 2.1 grams of saturated fat, which is about 11 percent of your daily value), per the USDA.

3. What Is the Best Keto Coffee Creamer?

A keto coffee creamer will be free of carbs (including sugar) and contain some fat. Some keto diet-friendly options include:

  • Nut Pods Original Unsweetened Creamer
  • So Delicious Organic Coconut Milk Creamer

4. What Coffee Creamer Has No Carrageenan?

Carrageenan is a natural food gum that's used to help thicken and emulsify certain food products, including coffee creamers. It's deemed safe to eat, according to ​Today's Dietitian​, but some people still choose to avoid the additive.

If you'd like to steer clear of it, some coffee creamers without carrageenan include:

  • Chobani Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer
  • Nut Pods Original Unsweetened Creamer
  • Califia Farms Dairy-Free Better Half Original
  • Elmhurst Unsweetened Oat Creamer
  • So Delicious Organic Coconut Milk Creamer

5. What Is the Best Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer?

The best non-dairy coffee creamer will be low in sugar (or zero-sugar) and contain just a bit of healthy fats.

Healthy non-dairy creamers include:

  • Nut Pods Original Unsweetened Creamer
  • So Delicious Organic Coconut Milk Creamer
  • Califia Farms Dairy-Free Better Half Original
  • Elmhurst Unsweetened Oat Creamer

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