Like many Americans, I’m kind of obsessed with and addicted to coffee. I cannot function in the morning before having at least one cup of Joe. At home, my perfect cup consists of brewed French vanilla with a splash of soy creamer. But when I’m at the corner coffee shop, I can’t resist the temptation of the fancy coffee beverages. I mean, if I’m going to pay a ton for a cup of coffee, I may as well make it worth my while, right?
Unfortunately, that grande Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappucino I love to order is loaded with more calories than I bargained for. In fact, most coffee house beverages are calorie-laden and packed with added sugar and fat. That Frappucino I ordered? It comes in at 430 calories, 60 grams of sugar, and 21 grams of fat (with 13 of those grams being the unhealthy, saturated variety). That calorie count is closer to the norm for a meal and those grams of saturated fat are more than half of what I should eat all day. Not exactly the healthiest beverage to enjoy with my breakfast.
So what’s a girl to do? Give up her yummy coffee drink habit? That’s certainly not going to happen. Instead, I attempt to order healthier espresso beverages by doing the following:
- Hold the whipped cream. Asking the barista to skip that much bigger than a dollop size of whipped cream can slash well over 100 calories and few grams of saturated fat. Chances are your beverage will be plenty sweet and creamy without it. If you can’t live without the rich topping, request just a tiny amount.
- Sub healthier milk. Requesting fat-free milk can save you calories and fat. If you can’t stand the watered-down consistency of skim milk, ask about other options. Many coffee shops now offer one percent, two percent, soy, and/or almond milks.
- Go easy on the syrup. A large espresso beverage can contain up to 6 pumps of sweet, flavored syrup. Ask for fewer pumps if you want to cut sugar. If you’re OK with consuming artificial sweeteners, ask if sugar-free syrups are available. Another option is to order an unflavored latte and top it with a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder.
- Put it on ice. Iced coffee beverages are actually smaller than their hot counterparts since ice takes up room in the cup. Simply ordering your favorite hot espresso drink on ice will cut calories. Be wary of cold blended drinks like my beloved Frappucino, though, because those tend to be the worst nutrition offenders.