Deck the halls will boughs of holly or better yet, the next best thing, a grande -size of your favorite holiday latte. This season Starbucks is offering six holiday drinks the Peppermint Mocha (440 calories), Chestnut Praline Latte (330 calories), Gingerbread latte (330 calories), Toasted White Chocolate Mocha (420 calories), Eggnog Latte (450 calories) and the Caramel Brulee Latte (450 calories).
These sugary drinks make it very tempting and difficult for anyone that wants to splurge without totally sabotaging their diets. The easiest decision is to just completely stay away but what fun is that during this joyous holiday season. Lucky for you, I will help you navigate through these decadent choices for healthier options.
Why Am I Craving Lattes?
These seasonal favorites are beautiful to look at with their colorful sprinkles and chocolate shavings. However, these decadent lattes usually contain sugary flavored syrups laden with corn syrup, whipped cream and excessive amounts of sugar. Sugar that exceeds the recommended daily allowance and questionable additives such as carrageenan, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and sodium benzoate. These additives are linked to inflammation and cancer-causing illnesses. These drinks are liquid sugar bombs!
According to Starbucks nutrition chart, a grande Caramel Brulee Latte is made with 2% milk, two shot of expresso, whipped cream, caramel brulee sauce and toppings. This latte contains 450 calories, 13 grams of fat, 70 grams of carbs and 47 grams of sugar!! The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams of sugar for women and 36 grams for men. That means your consuming almost double the recommended amount!
However, to enjoy your favorite latte without the guilt. Most of these drinks can be made vegan for a healthier alternative. Most coffee shops now offer a variety of nut milks such as almond and coconut milk which will significantly lower your calories and fat content.
Natural Sweeteners vs Artificial Sweeteners
To further improve your latte, I recommend going sugar-free. If that is too drastic of a change and you still want a sprinkle of guilt. A healthier alternative will be to opt for natural sweeteners. Natural sweeteners such as honey, agave or maple syrup. With these sweeteners, you’ll get the same sweet taste without the guilt.
Although, natural sweeteners may have a similar sugar content to artificial sweeteners. Natural sweeteners have different nutritional and sensory properties and a more positive health impact than artificial sweeteners. Natural sweeteners are generally safer but as always, consult your physician and eat in moderation.
Does Size Really Matter?
Lastly, decrease the size. Instead of going for a grande, opt for a tall-size. Portioning your serving size will also help minimize your caloric intake and sugar content, keeping you on track towards your health goals. For example, without making any adjustments to the Caramel Brûlée Latte and opting for a tall-size your calories decrease by 100 and your sugar content by 11 grams
So, the next time that you’re out and go to grab your favorite latte. Try my healthier alternatives of using almond or coconut milk, going sugar-free or use a natural sweetener and getting a smaller portion size. Glasses up and cheers to a healthier you this New Year!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.