These foods might be tasty, but they should be on your “no” list for before bed.
Caffeine, especially from coffee, has been called into question time and time again for its health drawbacks and benefits. For this reason, many people try to cut coffee from their routines entirely in favor of other energizing drinks.
Despite the controversy, companies continue to add the substance to their food and drink products. They might be doing it because of caffeine’s addictive quality — people who try to quit caffeinated beverages such as coffee frequently experience withdrawal symptoms and impulses to drink more. So for manufacturers, adding the chemical into our favorite foods makes a lot of sense. The more addicted we get, the more of their food we buy.
But which products are sneaking an extra energy kick into your diet?
Considering caffeine’s immediate effect as a brain stimulant and metabolism booster, it’s no wonder we get hooked. There are, of course, times when consuming something caffeinated could be beneficial. Although there are other times — like when you’re about to go to bed or are trying to maintain your low blood pressure, for example — when you would be smart to limit your intake. Overdoing it could be fatal.
The most important thing is to stay informed so that you don’t get hit with jitters when you didn’t want them.
A healthy baker’s dream, these chocolate-like morsels could be keeping you awake. If you’re into healthy baking, or just enjoy a smoothie bowl now and then, keep in mind that cacao adds more than just a sugarless chocolate flavor. Just three spoonfuls of cacao nibs contain over 22 milligrams of caffeine — that’s as much as a fourth of a cup of coffee!
You’re probably only eating cereal at breakfast anyway, but it’s good to be aware of which brands add caffeine to the mix. Between your bowl of breakfast and your cup of coffee before work, you might be getting more than you bargained for. Chocolatey cereals, such as Cocoa Puffs and Cookie Crisp, are hiding the most milligrams — but your safest bet is to check the label.
This is a reason to eat chocolate before breakfast if I’ve ever heard one. Dark chocolate, alongside its other health benefits, has a whopping 12 milligrams of caffeine in a single serving (and the serving size is small). A whole bar of dark chocolate contains around 70 milligrams, almost as much as a cup of coffee — not that we recommend eating the whole bar all at once.
This is an added perk (literally) to America’s favorite dessert. The caffeine content in these cookies is mostly derived from the chocolate in them. A small cookie can contain around three to five milligrams total. Nothing to rave over, but it might be part of the reason little kids get so wild after they eat a few — research shows it’s not the sugar!
With only five milligrams in a whole cup, it’s not the caffeine that should deter you from drinking a glass or two before bed. The sugar content is a bit more concerning — at 24 grams of sugar per cup, you’re bound to spike your blood sugar. But if you’re going to go for it, we recommend you try one of these adult chocolate milk recipes instead.
The brand’s promise to give you tons of energy isn’t far off base. Many of their flavors only contain the caffeine from chocolate: around three to five milligrams per bar, but two of their flavors contain a surprising 50 milligrams without any noticeable warning on the label. The “Peanut Toffee Buzz” and “Cool Mint Chocolate” flavors are delicious but have more caffeine than half a cup of coffee.
Coffee-flavored ice cream does contain real coffee. One serving of coffee ice cream can add on up to 50 milligrams of caffeine. As long as you’re wary of your consumption late at night, there’s no need to cut the treat from your diet entirely. But for your movie nights, you might be wise to swap it out for a different flavor.
Not just green tea, either. One serving of bottled sweet iced tea contains around 50 milligrams, which is over half the caffeine content of coffee. If you’re trying to wane yourself off of coffee completely, iced tea could be a good stepping stone. Just watch out for sugar — some varieties contain up to 20 grams in a single cup!
A good rule of thumb is to look out for caffeine in anything sugary and/or chocolatey, and these bars are a perfect example. Kashi’s Dark Mocha Almond Granola Bars contain nine milligrams of caffeine each. They also pack 11 grams of whole grains, and even add some protein to your diet. If you’re on the hunt for a mid-day pick me up, they’re not a bad choice.
Certain brands of kombucha, such as Kevita, use caffeinated tea in their blend. One bottle of Kevita Master Brew Kombucha, for instance, has almost as much caffeine as a full cup of coffee. The benefits of natural teas paired with the probiotics in these fizzy drinks will make you feel energized and keep your gut balanced — just make sure you drink them before the sun goes down.
A common misconception is that cola is the only form of soda containing caffeine. However, even some orange soda can add on milligrams. All sodas must list their caffeine content on the label. So whether you’re looking to get wired and awake or you’re trying to keep the jolt out of your drink, just check the label before buying.
If you’ve ever seen someone trendy sporting a green latte and wondered why, matcha is your answer. Since matcha is derived from green tea leaves, it contains moderate amounts of caffeine. It is also filled with antioxidants and comes with a plethora of other health benefits. Many matcha drinkers report feeling more refreshed and energized after switching to matcha than they did previously with coffee — so if you’re looking to quit, this could be your answer.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing crazy. But it’s not uncommon for a breath mint to contain one tiny milligram of caffeine. Certain varieties, such as Penguin Caffeinated Mints, add caffeine purposefully. These mints have around seven milligrams per mint. Say goodbye to coffee breath!
Incredibly, caffeine somehow snuck its way into these classic sandwich cookies. But fear not: You can still dip these cookies in peanut butter late at night without lying awake for hours afterward. Varieties of Oreos coated in chocolate or with chocolate filling contain a greater amount of the substance, but a typical Oreo only has around 1.3 milligrams.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Caffeine is a common ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter headache drugs.” However, there is a reason the pills have added caffeine: The substance can help your body absorb medication more quickly and even act as a headache treatment on its own.
These bars have been making a break into the health food scene, and for good reason. Just one bar packs 23 vitamins and minerals and 11 superfoods. “One of our main active ingredients is yerba mate which is said to have ‘the power of coffee, and the euphoria of chocolate,’” their website reads. These bars could be a great alternative to coffee in the morning or for a snack to get you through your mid-day slump.
Just like coffee ice cream contains caffeine, so does coffee yogurt. An increasingly popular flavor with breakfast lovers, coffee yogurt goes great with raspberries for a balanced and protein filled breakfast. However, it might not be the best nighttime snack. Steer clear from chocolate flavors, too, and stick to vanilla or add fruit to plain yogurt to keep it caffeine-free.
For energizing foods that don’t have caffeine, try out these Eight Caffeine-Free Breakfast Dishes That Will Boost Your Energy.