To many, that morning cup of coffee is a ritual — an obsession, even. A solid 80 to 185 mg of caffeine per cup can kick start a morning, and it’s got even more benefits beyond the jolt. Each day 100 million American adults drink the elixir that’s been linked to improved mood, a lower the risk of some cancers, and increased calorie burn. Think coffee has no place past the mug? Here are some sneaky ways to get it into any diet.
1. Energy Smoothie When iced coffee doesn’t do the trick, blend some Joe in a smoothie. Try a “ban-offee” version by blending ¾ cup of cooled coffee, a frozen banana, ¼ cup milk (of your choice), and a touch of maple syrup for a jolt with banana’ssuperfood powers. Extra perk: The potassium in bananas helps to replenish electrolyteslost from a night of boozing.
2. Coffee Muffins Get ready for coffee cake’s younger and cuter (pre-portioned) cousin. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees, and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray. Mix 1 cup of strong, cold coffee, ½ cup sugar (or another sweetener), 2 eggs, and a cup of plain yogurt. Add 2 ½ cups of whole-wheat flour (or instant oats!), and two teaspoons of baking powder until just combined. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Mocha “Puddin’’ Mix up a cup of plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and a tablespoon of instant coffee, and whip it up ‘til the coffee dissolves. Sweeten it to taste, and add some vanilla extract for an extra zing. Top the mock pudding with some nuts or berries!
4. Coffee Rub The dark acidic tones of coffee pair well with dark meats like duck, beef, and lamb. Rub freshly ground coffee beans (the darker the roast, the more potent the coffee flavor), with a touch of coarse pepper on to a meat of choice. Pro Tip: Throw it all in a plastic bag and shake it around for a mess-free even coating.
5. Perky Marinade Coffee’s not just for sweet stuff. Soak some steak in coffee for an hour or more before it hits the grill for tender, smoky meat without the not-so-glamorous nutrition stats other marinades have.