Have you ever considered how many calories you may be getting from your fancy coffee drink in the morning? It is shocking how some of those yummy drinks can pack in the calories and fat! For many of us, a cup of coffee on our way to work is our breakfast, so why not make it as healthy a breakfast as possible? Read on to see what you can do to alter your favorite high calorie and high fat latte to make it a healthier option.
- Avoid whipped cream. Although this may seem obvious, many of us think of having a specialty coffee as a special occasion, or we are in the habit of having it, so we add whipped cream. By doing so, you are adding 110-140 extra calories and nine to 13 extra grams of fat for a 16 ounce drink.
- Go for a lower fat (and calorie) version. Most drinks are prepared with whole milk but coffee shops offer skinny drinks made with skim milk. Using reduced fat (2 percent) or skim milk instead of whole milk will cut your calories by as many as 105 calories and more than 12 grams of fat per 16 ounce drink.
- Cut the syrup. If you are like me and find most of the coffee beverages with flavored syrup to be too sweet, ask for half the syrup. You save 20 calories and five grams of sugar for every pump that you cut out of your drink.
- Order sugar-free syrup. This will save you 80-120 calories and 20-25 grams of sugar for a 16 ounce drink.
- Consider your portion size. If you usually order a large drink, consider cutting it down to a medium or even a small. This will cut your caffeine, calorie and fat intake considerably.
- Try to increase your protein intake by having more milk (or soy milk) and less coffee. A simple modification is to have a cafe au lait (half coffee and half steamed milk) rather than a regular coffee. This way, you get more protein and calcium from your drink for a more nutritious drink!
- Opt for a cup of tea once a week. Teas do not generally have as much caffeine as coffee, and they offer many different antioxidants that are beneficial to your health.
The Bottom Line
These are just a few modifications that can make your fancy coffee drink healthier. Most of the large coffee chains have nutrition information online. Looking up your favorite drink may be an eye-opener for you if you consider your coffee drink just that – a drink and not a meal! Some coffee drinks such as Starbucks’ Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème can provide you more than 580 calories and 22 grams of fat (and that is not even a large sized drink!). This accounts for more than one fourth of the average American’s daily calorie requirements (2,000 calories), but is not likely considered this much, when you are just stopping in to get your morning jolt of caffeine.
Elizabeth Daeninck is a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. She has taught classes at the college level and facilitated weight loss group meetings, presented a variety of nutrition seminars and is a published author and researcher in the field of nutrition.