5 Ways to Lighten Up Your Latte

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

Take one look at the menu at your local coffee shop and it’s clear: the season is officially changing. From pumpkin spice to salted caramel, the flavor options have gone from cool and refreshing to hot and cozy in less time than it takes to brew a cup of instant joe.

And though for many, these tasty treats are the only upside to the dropping temps, they come at a high cost―and we don’t just mean dollars and cents. While a cup of plain black coffee serves up a modest 2 calories per cup, many of the seasonal “designer” drinks are brimming with calories, sugar and fat. In fact, at one popular coffee shop, a large Salted Caramel Mocha Latte prepared with whole milk and topped with whipped cream weighs in at a jolting 600 calories, 72 grams of sugar and 23 grams of fat! Pick-me-up? More like plump-me-up.

The good news is, with a few tweaks, you can trim down your favorite fall coffee―and your waistline! Try these simple tricks to lighten up your latte today:

1. Opt for small―or tall
When it comes to coffee, size matters. Downsize your drink from a large to a small, and your body will thank you. At one popular coffee shop, you can cut nearly 200 calories just by opting for a small pumpkin spiced latte instead of a large. Order a small hot chocolate at another go-to coffee spot, and you’ll save 230 calories. Treat your coffee as just that―a treat. Remember that calories are calories, even if you’re drinking them.

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2. Skip the whip
Lose the whipped cream when ordering your next cup of joe and you could save anywhere from 50-110 calories and 5-11 grams of fat, depending on the size. Take this tweak one step further and pass on toppings like drizzles and chocolate shavings. Taken together, these small sacrifices can add up to big-time benefits.

3. Spice it up
Skip the sugary syrups, which can dish out 25 calories and 5 grams of sugar per single pump, and try experimenting with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg instead. Another option? Fill up on flavored, unsweetened tea. If you simply cannot do without your favorite sweet syrup, ask for fewer pumps or opt for sugar-free selections. You’ll still get the flavor without all the diet-destruction.

4. Rethink your milk
Swap whole milk for fat-free milk, and you could save about 70 calories per every eight ounces. It’s a simple switch you probably won’t even notice, which cuts calories without cutting the body boosting nutrients milk serves up―like calcium and vitamin D.

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5. Ice it up
Sure, fall temperatures don’t exactly conjure up images of cold coffee drinks. But the great thing about iced coffees is that because the ice takes up space in your cup, you’ll be drinking less of the calorie-dense ingredients. If you can’t stomach the thought of a cold coffee on a cold day, just ask for two or three ice cubes in your java. It’s a small tweak that’ll lighten up the calorie count and reduce your sipping wait time. Who feels like waiting for their piping hot java to cool anyway?