How to Cut Calories Out Of Your Coffee Break

Can’t imagine a day without stopping by Starbucks for a venti mocha, but scared to tread so close to temptation? Believe it or not, there are ways to make it out satiated and healthy. Check out these strategic approaches to the essential coffee break.

How to Cut Calories Out Of Your Coffee BreakPhoto: iStock

Order a Glazed Yeast Doughnut

We know most people want a doughnut when they walk into a doughnut shop. So have one. But make it a glazed yeast doughnut, that is, plain except for a sugar coating. This is a great way to cut back on calories: a glazed donut at Dunkin Donuts has about 180 calories and 8 grams fat, while a Vanilla Kreme Filled has 270 calories and 13 grams fat.

Donuts Are Treats, Not Breakfast…

A doughnut or another pastry as an occasional treat is fine, but as a breakfast it’s disastrous. Not only will the simple carbohydrates and high sugar load leave you drooping and hungry an hour later, but you get little to no nutritional benefit for the fat and calories you’re ingesting. If you must eat on the run at your friendly coffee shop, order a whole -wheat bagel.

…And That Fancy Frappuccino Con Pana Is Dessert

Classify specialty coffee drinks as dessert, not coffee. Fancy flavoured, whipped-cream covered, hard-to-pronounce coffee drinks can be worse for you than a big slice of cake. For example, a medium Java Chip Frappuccino with whipped cream at Starbucks has 510 calories, 22 grams fat, and 59 grams sugar. Of the 27 types of cakes Starbucks lists on its Web site, 21 have fewer calories per serving than the drink! If you must have a fancy coffee drink, treat it like a banana split or a big slice of cake-a rare indulgence, to be had by itself and not as a mere beverage.

Choose Biscotti

These twice-baked Italian delicacies are perfect for dunking, and at Starbucks carry just 110 calories and 5 grams fat. Compare that to the Caramel Pecan Sticky Roll, with 730 calories and 40 grams fat.

Order Coffee Black and Add the Extras

Not only are many of the specialty coffee drinks loaded with fat and calories, but some items are made from mixes, many of which contain large amounts of trans fats. The solution: Get a black coffee and add in healthy amounts of skim milk, sugar, or sugar substitute, and if you wish, unique flavorings like ground chocolate or cinnamon.

Indulge Responsibly

If you must order specialty beverages, order ones made with milk, like cappuccino or latte. And ask that they be made with low-fat or skim milk. You’ll get a goodly amount of calcium along with the warmth and caffeine but without the saturated fat.

Forget the Whipped Topping

You’ll instantly save 100 calories and 10 grams fat.

Split a Muffin Three Ways

As with a doughnut, think “treat” rather than breakfast when you get a muffin at a store. Muffins-even bran muffins-tend to be more about good taste than good nutrition.

Substitute Skim Milk for Cream

You’ll save upward of 50 calories, depending on the size of your drink. Chances are, you won’t notice the difference between the skim dairy and the half-and-half.

Go For a Flavoured Bagel

If you’re ordering blueberry, cinnamon raisin, or some other tasty flavour, you won’t need the extra cream cheese, butter, or other spreads. Skip the salt bagel, though. It has more than a day’s worth of sodium. Better still, go for whole wheat, multigrain, or oat bran bagels-you can eat your bagel and have some good nutrition too!

Pick the Low-Fat Option

Many bakeries (even Dunkin’ Donuts) do offer low-fat options of their tasty treats. This is still a long way from health food, but it’s a step closer.

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