Sunday, April 12, 2009

How To Save Calories In Your Coffee Drinks

Most people are aware that coffee itself has almost zero calories. Add a few ice cubes to cool it off and you're adding no calories. A little milk to lighten it up and a few teaspoons of sugar to sweeten it, and you're only talking about 50 calories--no big deal, right? But do you have any idea what's in the popular coffee drinks at the famous coffee chain, local coffee bars, or even the new fast-food coffee drink competitor? A lot!

For example, there are over 300 calories in the fast-food version of a medium iced mocha, and almost 600 in a name-brand frappuccino! In the hot drinks you can expect to consume about 300 calories in a serving of a latte. Where are these calories coming from, and is there any way you can still enjoy your coffee drink without sabotaging your dietary calorie balance?
Relax! Any of these places will make your coffee drink special-to-order so you can reduce the calories by hundreds!

First, let's take the milk that's used, whether it's heated or foamed. For every eight ounces of whole milk in your beverage there are about 9 grams of fat--close to 80 calories. Non-fat milk (also known as skim milk) has virtually zero fat so you can save 80 calories. And remember, that's for eight ounces--many of these drinks are using 12 ounces of milk, saving you up to 120 calories.

Now, look at the syrup that flavors your coffee--maybe hazelnut, vanilla, caramel, or chocolate. Many coffee bars put three or four squirts of sugary syrup in. How can you reduce the calories? They usually offer sugar-free varieties of any flavor. Personally I like the regular flavor, but can do without the extreme sweetness, so I'll ask them to cut the amount of syrup in half. Either way, you can save up to 80 calories by reducing the sugary part of the flavoring.

Finally, most coffee drinks--whether hot or cold--are topped with a rather large dollop of whipped cream. This can be easily adding more than 50 calories, depending on how generous the barrista! So, ask for less or do without, and save some more calories.

You've now found three ways to reduce the calories in your coffee drink: less fat in the milk, less sugar from the syrup (by using sugar-free or reducing the amount) and less (or no) whipped cream. Use your judgement and run a few trials to see what works for you and your taste.
A coffee drink needn't have more calories than a glass of skim milk (90 calories) with a little sweetener, and all the calcium and riboflavin you can get from what contributes as a serving of a dairy product in your daily diet!

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