Coffee Savy

coffee savy picNow in days, walking into a coffee shop can be a bit intimidating. Not only are the drinks at coffee shops complicated and European sounding, the sizes are just as confusing.  To cut some of the stress you experience while translating the menu, I thought I’d explain some of the basic drink options, and the best ways to order without busting your diet.

Latte / Mocha Latte
Let’s start with the classic Latte. This is a popular favorite drink to on the menu, because it is simple and not too intimidating. Lattes are made up espresso and steamed milk, topped with a little foam.  Mocha Latte, is simply a latte with dark chocolate sauce added. It you’re someone who likes your drink sweet; try it with skim milk and a sugar-free flavoring.  A Mocha Latte is about 330 calories, verses a classic Latte that has only 190 calories.

Similar to lattes the Cappuccino is solely steamed milk and espresso. The only difference is that the Cappuccino has more foam on top. That’s it. For someone who doesn’t like the taste of steamed milk, ask for your Cappuccino dry, this just means less milk and more foam. For a 16 oz. drink you’re looking at around 140 calories.

A Macchiato is one of the most commonly forgotten about drinks, thanks to Starbucks. Unlike the Starbucks version, a real Macchiato is just espresso topped with foam. If you’re looking for a caffeine kick, it will definitely get the job done.  The real Macchiato has about 6 calories, but the Starbucks version has about 240 calories in a 16 oz. cup. Ouch! Try it skinny (Skim milk, sugar free flavoring, and no whip cream) to save about 100 calories!

Red Eye
Speaking of getting your caffeine fix, a Red Eye can also offer that. This drink is coffee and espresso. Although this may seem tempting when tired, be careful about your caffeine intake. You should be drinking twice as much water as coffee to stay properly hydrated. This coffee beverage has roughly about 10 calories in a 16 oz cup.

A favorite to many (well, to me at least) the Americano consists of espresso and hot water. Ultimately it tastes similar to coffee with the main difference being that it has more caffeine.  For this delicious beverage enjoy it for only 6 calories!

The Frappuccino was basically developed for those who do not like the taste of coffee but want the caffeine… and calories. They are blended Lattes with added caramel or chocolate as well as topped with whipped crème. If you were trying to be careful about which coffee drinks to order, I’d stay away from this one. BUT if you are an absolute lover of the Frappuccino, try to ask for non-fat milk as well as passing on the whipped crème and extra toppings on top. This option will bring your calorie count down to about 250 versus the average 410 calorie drink. This is also based off of the 16 oz. size drink.

Overall the best drinks to order are the ones not including extra whip crème, flavoring, or toppings. The least calorie drinks include Red Eyes, Americanos, Coffee, or Esspresso. Although the Lattes, Mochas, and Frappuccinos are yummy, try to not make those an everyday drink or your diet will suffer. Perhaps even making them your special occasion drinks!

Another option to think about is going decaf or half-caf. If your dietary needs do not allow you to drink caffeinated drinks, ask for DECAF. Most of the time any of the drinks listed above can be made with decaf coffee/ decaf espresso. Or you can ask for half-caf. which is half the amount of caffeine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult can drink up to 400 mg of caffeine a day and still be OKAY. This totals to around 4 cups of coffee.

Whichever the coffee drink is that you prefer, I hope this helps you to decipher the menu next time you so bravely step into a coffee shop. There’s nothing worse than ordering something you don’t know what is that, just to find out it is filled with hidden calories!

* The calorie counts were taken from the official Starbucks Coffee nutritional facts sheet and are subject to change according to where to buy coffee. They are meant to be rough estimates. *

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong,

Mary Marren

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