How to Make Low-Calorie Iced Coffee Drinks

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Iced coffees can be very refreshing on a hot summer day, and they often appear deceptively light. The reality is that many of those iced coffees contain 300 to 400 calories, and some of them contain more than 700 calories. Not to mention the dent that a $5 cup of coffee can put in your wallet over time. Make your own at low-calorie versions at home and save your budget and your waistline.

Start with quality coffee. If you buy the cheapest coffee in the store, you'll probably have to add quite a bit of sweetener and flavoring to make it palatable. Using additional flavorings will increase the cost of each cup and probably negate the few cents you saved by buying cheap coffee. You may even want to start with a flavored coffee. Flavored coffees generally still have zero calories. The exception to this is instant flavored coffee -- these are packed with sugar and calories.

Brew a pot of coffee. As soon as it's done, turn off the coffee maker and remove the pot of coffee, placing it on a pot holder or dish towel to cool. If you're impatient, you can make your iced coffee right away, but you will have better results if you allow it to cool.

Choose your milk (if you want it, coffee drinks without any sort of milk are preferable to some). You can use regular milk of any fat content, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, etc. Alternately, you can mix 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder with 2 cups of water and shake it well. Use about 1/4 cup of this mixture in place of the milk to give your coffee some added protein.

Gather your flavorings. The sky is really the limit here. Keep in mind, if you used a flavored coffee, you may not need any additional flavorings. Choose from among sugar-free syrups (available in the coffee aisle of your local grocery store), cinnamon, and flavor extracts (almond, vanilla, peppermint, etc.).

Add a zero- or low-calorie sweetener if desired.

Get out your blender, and add four or five ice cubes. Pour your coffee, milk and flavorings over top. Blend until the ice cubes are mostly crushed, and then pour into a glass.

Add a shot of whipped cream to make it even better. You might be surprised to learn that a 2 tbsp. serving from a can of light whipped cream is only 20 calories. That's a small indulgence that you don't have to feel guilty about, so enjoy.