Guest Author - Gayle E. Santana
Okay now that I actually feel like it is summer, let’s talk about cooling summer drinks. In case you didn’t know, the North East has been suffering under a deluge of rain almost daily over the last month. I was worried that summer wasn’t coming this year, but right now I can’t complain because some really nice days have finally emerged--between the rain drops that is.
I don’t make a habit of drinking sweet and creamy drinks very often, but when summer arrives I do treat myself to at least one. It is no secret that the Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks is generally my treat of choice, but this year I think I am going to change it up a bit.
I have heard good things about the Banana Chocolate Vivanno™ Smoothie from my daughter. She says it is not syrupy sweet and really delicious. According to the Starbucks Nutrition information, this drink is “Freshly prepared with a whole banana, bittersweet cocoa, 2% milk and our own proprietary whey protein & fiber powder and ice.” Those ingredients sound fairly wholesome to me. In the way of calories and fat we’ve got a grande size coming in with 270 calories, 40 from fat. Switch to nonfat milk and it is 250 calories with 20 from fat.
My favorite Iced Caramel Macchiato in the grande size weighs in with 230 calories using 2% milk with 60 from fat. There seem to be more customizing options available with the Macchiato as far as size goes (the Vivanno only seemed to be available in grande although the baristas are usually pretty accommodating when it comes to your needs.) A nonfat, tall Macchiato can get down to 140 calories with 10 from fat. That doesn’t sound like a diet-breaker to me, as long as you adjust in another area or make it up with an additional workout.
If you think those numbers are hefty, you should know that a McDonald's Chocolate Shake carries the following numbers: A 12-ounce chocolate shake is 440 calories with 90 from fat, the 16-ounce 580 calories with 120 from fat and the 21 ounce, the size of a venti, 770 calories with 160 from fat.
The simplicity of the ingredients in a Vivanno; fresh bananas, bittersweet cocoa, 2% or skim milk, and Starbucks protein and fiber powder; are also attractive. Not so much for the McDonald’s Chocolate shake: Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream: Milk, sugar, cream, nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum, vitamin A palmitate. Chocolate Syrup: High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, cocoa (processed with alkali), natural (vegetable source) and artificial flavors, salt, potassium sorbate (preservative), artificial flavor (vanillin). May contain small amounts of other shake flavors served at the restaurant, including egg ingredients when Egg Nog Shakes are available. I only bring up the shake because the coffee house drinks are often vilified and the fast food shakes often thought of as wholesome.
So I don’t know about you, but for me, summer is to be enjoyed—in moderation of course. I think my Vivanno and Macchiato will be well worth the indulgence without too much of the guilt.