It’s that time of year when all of the festive holiday drinks are coming back to your favorite coffee shops, from Pumpkin Spice to Gingerbread to Eggnog. While these drinks sure can be tasty, they can also be loaded with fat and sugar. For instance, a 16 oz. eggnog latte at Starbucks is estimated to clock in at around 480 cal with 52g of sugar, according to the Starbucks website nutrition calculator. This drink consists of the same amount of calories that you would typically consume in a whole meal, and it contains more than your entire daily allotment of sugar!
As sugary coffee drinks, and sugar-sweetened beverages in general, have become more popular, the average person has been consuming more and more of their calories via beverages, which can quickly add up in terms of weight gain. It is estimated that calories consumed from sugar-sweetened beverages has doubled since the 1960’s. As a result, it’s important to cut back on calories in your beverages where you can, while still enjoying yourself, of course. Here are some tips and tricks to try at your local coffee shop the next time you go so that you can enjoy your favorite holiday drinks in a healthier way!
– Order black coffee (hot or iced) and add “light” syrup, which is about half the amount of pumps of syrup that would normally be added. You can also be specific and ask for a certain amount of pumps to ensure that you know exactly what is going into your drink.
– Order black coffee and ask for eggnog instead of cream to keep it holiday-themed, but with far less eggnog used in the recipe.
– Order a black flavored coffee, if available. The flavored beans allow you to enjoy all the flavor with virtually none of the extra calories and added sugar.
– Get a latte with non-fat milk and sugar-free syrup (if available); skip the whipped cream. That alone can save you around 70 cal, on average.
Not only do these tricks save you on calories at the coffee shop, but they will usually save you some money as well. A regular coffee with a shot of flavor is much cheaper than a full holiday drink at almost all coffee shops.
Small changes in your everyday diet add up over time. Even just consuming 100 less calories every day could significantly affect your weight. 100 calories less per day for 365 days adds up to saving on 36,500 calories on the whole year. That equates to about 10.5 lbs saved, just by doing something as minor as cutting out the whipped cream from your holiday drink. Imagine if you utilized even more of the healthy swaps mentioned above just how much you could save yourself over the next year, in terms of both weight and money.