For coffee addicts, one of the more joyful aspects of the season is the arrival of the "red cups" at the big chain coffeehouses. The holiday-themed cups signal that the holiday drinks are back on the menu ... those delicious concoctions that aren't readily available any other time of year. Will it be an eggnog latte or a peppermint mocha?
Nobody imagines these sweet drinks are as low-calorie as a plain cup of black coffee, for sure ... but the calorie damage these drinks can do is worse than you probably realize. Most of these treats pack the same calories and fat as you should get in a meal, and a pretty substantial meal at that. And oftentimes, you probably have a cookie or muffin along with them. !!!
Rest easy, my friends, we're going to blow your mind with calorie counts, but then we're going offer up several lower cal holiday drink makeovers that will help you ward off the Santa Belly this season.
- Caribou Coffee's Ho Ho Mint White Mocha is 790 calories with 27 grams of fat.
- Starbucks' Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha is 700 calories and a comparatively svelte 17 grams of fat.
- Seattle's Best Peppermint Mocha Trio is 740 calories and 25 grams of fat.
By way of reference, a Big Mac is 540 calories.
Of course, the problem with drinking that many sweet calories is that they don't even fill you up ... you can easily down a full meal after sipping one of these drinks.
There are healthier alternatives to these holiday drinks, luckily.
4 Low-Cal Holiday Drink Makeovers
- For one thing, the calories and fat content mentioned are based on the biggest size available of these drinks, made with 2 percent milk and whipped cream. So do yourself a favor and order a small with skim milk and no whipped cream. You can even ask the barista to only add half the chocolate or inquire about sugar-free chocolate. This can save you more than half the calories in some cases, making these drinks over into much more respectable treats.
- If even that is too much, try a nonfat latte with sugar-free flavored syrup in flavors like peppermint, vanilla, cinnamon, and more. Still delicious!
- You can also make your own peppermint mocha at home: cocoa powder with a little bit of sugar, a teensy drop of peppermint extract (it's strong stuff), hot skim milk, and coffee or espresso. Yum from the comforts of home!
- If you're really being good, Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea is calorie- and caffeine-free and just as warm, sweet, and delicious as any of these drinks, too.
What's your favorite holiday beverage splurge?
Image via Starbucks.com