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When the urge for a rich, toasty beverage strikes, it’s sometimes hard to justify the need for comfort and warmth against the desire not to overindulge in caffeine or sugar, chief among the things you tried to leave behind in December toward a healthier January. Herbal tea is lovely and all, but somehow doesn’t quite feed the need following the afternoon peppermint latte habit you picked up over the holidays.

But espresso and sugar do not define a latte. Brief lesson in Italian: “latte” means “milk.” The milk defines a latte, literally. A hand-warming mug of your preferred milk or dairy alternative doesn’t necessarily need to amount to a liquid candy bar with the octane to keep you sleepless until springtime; it all depends on how you mix it.

So you can have your latte, and drink it too, with these five products that can offer you a (wholesome) afternoon delight without regret.

Related Reading: These Copycat Starbucks Egg Bites Are Awesome—and Keto-Friendly

Turmeric Latte

Gaia Golden Milk Powder, $16.14 on Amazon


If you were in a coma in the 2010s, then you might have missed the message that turmeric is now basically the best stuff on earth. Golden in color, it is actual gold where health is concerned, with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pro-brain and heart functioning qualities. Fortunately, it also happens to have an appealing taste, especially when paired with a touch of ginger and natural sweetness from dates. So kick your destructive afternoon peppermint latte habit and steer yourself instead toward immortality.Buy Now

Rooibos Latte

Bos Organic Rooibos Tea Bags, 40 for $14.99 on Amazon


Rooibos is a red, woodsy-flavored tea grown only in South Africa that precisely evokes time spent outside among the trees. Think yerba mate, but with a really cool accent. Steeped in milk, it is an excellent replacement for hot chocolate, with a touch of honey or maple syrup for a little sweetness. The hint of exoticism in the name with those unwieldy Dutch vowels also gives a certain après-sled vibe to the festivities.Buy Now

Charcoal Latte

Suncore Activated Charcoal Coconut Powder, $9.99 on Amazon


Name another warm beverage that can help detoxify your kidneys AND whiten your teeth? Go ahead, I’ll wait. Up there with turmeric, activated charcoal also sprung into our collective health consciousness in the last few years, offering myriad benefits, not the least of which is the ability to make everything look super goth. It doesn’t actually taste like much on its own, despite its intensely brooding look, but this simple Detox Charcoal Latte recipe from Darn Good Veggies gives it a vanilla vibe with very little sugar.Buy Now

Lavender Latte

European Lavender Flowers, $14.95 on Amazon


There are foodstuffs with the power to heal you when ingested, and then there’s lavender, which both has the power to heal you and also has the power to soothe you on smell alone. Rather than a pick-me-up, use this gentle, aromatic latte as a calm-me-down, either before bedtime or in the middle of a hectic work day. This Lavender Bedtime Milk recipe from Kale and Caramel combines lavender pods with hemp and walnuts for a delicious, natural alternative to Xanax.Buy Now

Cardamom Latte

Spicy World Green Cardamom Pods, $6.99 on Amazon


Cardamom is a one-man pumpkin spice, and is here for those craving a creamy chai latte without the sugar bomb and caffeine. (Wait, chai has caffeine? Yes.) Gently crushed whole cardamom pods steeped in milk, as in this Cardamom Honey Milk recipe from Striped Spatula, are everything nice, but hold the sugar and leave the spice.Buy Now

Header image courtesy of REDA&CO/Getty Images.

Pamela Vachon is a freelance writer based in Astoria, NY whose work has also appeared on CNET, Cheese Professor, Alcohol Professor, and Diced. She is also a certified sommelier, voiceover artist, and an avid lover of all things pickled or fermented.
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