Most people I know wake up in the morning and head straight for the pot: the coffee pot.
Across the world, coffee houses are popping up everywhere; in New York city alone there is a Starbucks Coffee on every street corner. At Ohio University, just on Court Street, there are 4 coffee houses, and one in the student center. Coffee drinkers rely on their slow roast or Guatemalan blend in order to get them through the morning. In my parent’s house, the routine never fails. My parents bought one of those state-of-the art coffee pots where you buy the beans, and the pot grinds and does the rest for you. 5 A.M. and the coffee is already starting and ready to go. My family sticks with the original, straight out of the pot, black coffee; which is good because it gives a buzz without the calories. A cup of regular ole’ joe is just 5 calories, and coffee is actually a great metabolism-booster and can be used as a weight loss supplement.
But what about those foo-foo latte’s and frozen drinks with the fun straws from Panera? or those venti Mocha-whatever’s from Starbucks? No doubt they give you the sugar rush and morning wake up call you’re looking for, but does one drink equal a meal’s worth of calories?
When dining at a coffee house, the tasty treats from inside the food case are the least of your worries when it comes to calories. Some of the worst coffee drinks (calorically) come from Dairy Queen, Smoothie King and Cosi. A large, 40 oz. Smoothie King Mo’cuccino Carmel is considered the worst protein infused coffee drink. This 40 oz. mocha goodness has a total of 1,140 calories, 24 g of fat, 20 g of protein and a whopping 176 g of sugar. The worst frozen mocha actually comes from Cosi, which is actually one of my favorite places to dine for lunch. Their Cosi Double Oh! Arctic Mocha (23 oz.) has 1,210 calories, 19 grams of fat (10 g saturated) and 240 g of sugar. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t equate to the amount of sugar in half a dozen Twinkies, settle for a tall (11 oz.) Mocha: 298 calories, 8 g of fat, and only 41 g of sugar.
Seattle’s best coffee, Starbucks, seems to be a favorite throughout the U.S. The student center coffee house at OU serves Starbucks coffee and whenever I walk by, the is always almost out the door. I see most students walk out with a large iced drink of some sort, or maybe just regular coffee with whip cream and a chocolate drizzle on top. With winter on it’s way, Starbucks’ peppermint drinks are hot among coffee drinkers. But what if drinking coffee that tastes like Christmas is packing on those unwanted calories? A venti Peppermint White Hot Chocolate is a damaging 730 calories with 27 grams of fat. Most think of tea as being a safer, healthier option. However, the Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Creme with whipped cream has a total of 650 calories with 15 g of total fat. If Starbucks is calling your name in the morning, and you’re trying to avoid the extra calories, try the skim mik or non-fat milk, and avoid the whip cream with a chocolate drizzle.
So how do you avoid turning your favorite morning brew into a drink with enough calories as a full meal? There’s no reason to completely cut out that blended mocha, but alter what you put in it.
Use portion control. Going to a 12 oz. drink eliminates 50 calories on the spot. Also, watch the fat content. Switching to skim milk drops a medium drink down 130 calories. If ice-blended drinks are the only way to get you up and moving in the morning, skip the whip, pass on the syrup, and say “no” to the chocolate drizzle. These three things alone can reduce your ice-blend by 200 calories.
Not ordering the fancy stuff? If you like it straight, avoid flavored creamers and whole dairy products. Adding the flavored cream to the coffee adds unnecessary fat to the daily diet. When it comes to putting milk in your coffee, use low-fat dairy products; they are less in calories, but get the job done just as well as 2% or whole milk.
Be cautious when choosing your coffee in the morning. Drinking the equivalent of a box of Little Debbie’s is the last thing you want.