Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't Give UpThose Fancy Starbucks Drinks You Love! - Order them a "Healthier" Way!

Since acquiring my own in-home coffee bar, I have little interest in visiting Starbucks, save for a social call now and then. Many of us will agree that Starbucks makes a mean Frapuccino, Mocha, & White Mocha. Perhaps you're more of a Latte or Tea Latte fan. Either way, visiting Starbucks can be a heavenly experience, but the effect on your waistline is..shall we say..less than praise-worthy. Here are a few tips to minimize your caloric intake at Starbucks, while also trading a few ingredients for healthy alternatives.

First Step: Find out what is in your drink of choice. Chances are, aside from Coffee, there is milk, sauces and/or syrups, and whipped topping.
Second Step: Get decaf if you can. Caffeine, in healthy individuals, can be healthy in small does, but if you are ordering a Venti, that is quite a bit of caffeine. If you feel you need the jolt, by all means order Caff. If you are more into the taste experience, and can forgo the Caffeine, do so.

Third Step: Trade off. If you order your drink with whole milk, substitute skim, or even better, I recommend Soy milk. Though Soy milk has more calories than Skim, It is (despite the higher calorie count) much healthier for your body, and will give your drink the same creaminess as whole milk. If you are not a fan of Soy Milk, give it a try. You can't even taste the "soy" when blended with your favorite beverage!
Fourth Step: If your drink includes any sauces or syrups, ask the barista to cut the amount 1/3. This is where most of the calories in your drink come from. If you find your coffee to be as delicious as ever, you can try asking them to cut the amount 1/2 next time. If your coffee is not as sweet as you prefer, then they will make you another free of charge, with the original amount of sauce. Don't be afraid to experiment! Starbucks encourages it. They will replace your drinks for free until you are 100% satisfied!
Note: I advise against using the sugar-free syrup options, unless you are diabetic. These syrups often contain aspartame, which has been linked to a plethora of health problems (Read more here.) Believe it or not, there is strong evidence that real sugar, even that that has been processed, is a better alternative)

Fifth Step: Whipped Cream. A dollop of whipped cream in a Venti beverage at Starbucks adds a whopping 12 G of fat!! If you can do without the whip, go without. If you need the whip to "complete" the heavenly Starbucks experience, ask for just a small dollop, or even better, bring in your own Fat-Free Whip (Available at most grocers), and enjoy!
Please note that even this "healthier" alternative to your favorite drink is still high in sugar and calories. If you're st Starbucks every day, try and cut back some. Your waistline, your heart, and your wallet will thank you!

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