A latte here, a sweetened iced coffee there —it’s hard to think that your trips to the coffee shop could be impeding your weight-loss goals, but those extra calories can add up quick! In fact, it takes just an extra 100 calories a day to gain a pound a month. Although many coffee shops have lightened drinks, they still might not be your healthiest option when it comes to getting your cup of Joe.
Read on for our top tips for enjoying your Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or your favorite coffee shop guilt-free!
1. Order a cup of black coffee. Skip the specialty drinks at the coffee shop altogether and instead order a cup of plain, black coffee. Not only is it cheaper, it’s virtually calorie-free. If you like sweetness or a little milk, add it yourself so that you know exactly what’s going in your cup of coffee shop java!
2. Get the smallest size. Getting a larger size may save you a few pennies, but is your health worth it? At Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, ordering a 10-ounce small instead of a 24-ounce large can make a very big difference, especially if ordering a caramel coffee with cream. In this case, you’d actually save 170 calories! When ordering custom coffee shop drinks, it’s best to stick to a small portion size. All good things in moderation.
3. Milk Matters. Unless you specify your milk preference, Starbucks will automatically give you 2 percent milk, and most other restaurants will give you whole milk. If you’re just adding a drop of milk in your coffee, then who cares what you’re given. But if you’re ordering a “fancy” coffee, then you must start considering nonfat milk. For example, a tall nonfat latte at Starbucks is 100 calories, whereas the same drink with 2 percent milk is 150 calories. Fifty calories may not seem like a big deal, but depending on how many cups per day you’re drinking and what else you are eating, it can surely add up. Whether it’s a vanilla latte or another flavored coffee shop drink, have the barista make it with half of the flavor and skim milk. This alone can save you quite a few calories and still give you the flavor you’re craving.
4. Fix your flavor.
Unfortunately, every time you add syrup to a coffee beverage, you’re adding a whole lot of calories. Sure it tastes good, but at what cost to your waistline? If you must go with syrup, order the sugar-free version if it’s available. Or better yet, skip it altogether and simply sprinkle a little cinnamon, vanilla or chocolate powder or nutmeg for added flavor. Another idea is to order your beverage with soy milk; I find when I order a latte with soy instead of regular milk, it taste a whole lot sweeter.