Guest Author - Gayle E. Santana
I'm back on the calorie-counting wagon again (as often as I climb off and on the wagon you would think it could qualify as a workout!) and lo and behold I spy an article talking about my beloved coffee. It seems that restaurants will now be required to post the calorie counts in your favorite foods and drinks. Starbucks, along with most of the chains, is already doing so. You should know that calories counts are also available on their websites under nutritional information and have been for years. I generally visit this area every so often for a reality check.
Many people feel that because they are drinking and not eating they canít be consuming many calories. If this is an assumption you are making you would be wrong. Hereís a comparison:
McDonalds Regular Hamburger:
Calories from Fat: 80
Total Fat Grams: 9
Dunkin Donuts Caramel Swirl Latte (10 ounce):
Calories from Fat: 60
Total Fat Grams: 6
Now up the size, add whipped cream and well, you get the picture.
Starbucks has a great tool in the nutrition section on their site where you can build your favorite drink by choosing different items like 2 percent milk or changing the size and comparing the end result. Letís take my favorite Caramel Macchiato as an example.
A grande Caramel Macchiato with whole milk weighs in as follows:
Serving Size 16 fl. oz.
Fat Calories 90
Total Fat (g) 10
Pare it down to a short with nonfat milk and voila:
Serving Size 8 fl. oz.
Fat Calories 10
Total Fat (g) 1
Ah, you didnít know Starbucks had Ďshortsí did you? Ask and ye shall receive.
Another of my all time favorite coffee drinks is the Cappuccino Blast from Baskin Robins. Here are the stats on that from the Baskin Robbins website(nutritional info):
Serving size: 16 fl. Oz.
Calories from Fat 120
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 9g
Trans Fat 0g
Here are a few tips for slimming this one. Get a small size and then pour out half. Skip the whipped cream and ask before itís made and substitute some lower calorie choices.
Does this mean I must shun my favorite treats in their original form forever? Of course not. I believe that life is to be enjoyed and if you have good health and generally eat healthy, once in a blue moon you can treat yourself.
Here is a rule of thumb. Use common sense. If your favorite drink is sweet, thick and/or creamy, it probably has a hefty calorie count.
Know the facts. Check the posted information in the store, check the website. If your favorite spot is not yet required to do so, use a comparable drink from another store or break down the ingredients and look them up separately.
Downsize. Whenever you eat out, cut your portion in half. This includes your beverage. Think about your average 6-8 ounce coffee cup (not mug) and look at the size of your average specialty drink. Pour out half or share and enjoy the rest.
Work it into your plan. Once you know the facts you can intelligently work an occasional treat into your plan without derailing your weight loss or generally healthy eating goals.