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Ordering healthier drinks helps with calorie count

By Patty Hudek

Are you a coffee lover? Do you like jazzed up coffee drinks? Perhaps you prefer the smoothie bar instead. If you do, you aren’t alone. Coffee shops and smoothie bars that have an array of flavored drinks are very popular, but these drinks can pack a caloric punch if we aren’t careful. Although black coffee itself contains minimal calories (5 calories per 8 ounces according to Ohio State University Extension), many folks like to add milk, cream, and sugar-laden ingredients to their drinks. And when the barista is the one in charge of making the drink, we may not be able to gauge the calories in the drink very easily. The same goes for smoothies. Make an effort to keep those coffee drinks and smoothie calories in check.

Hudek

Hudek

Here are a few tips:

• Request that your drink be made with fat-free or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.

• Order the smallest size available.

• Forgo the extra flavoring.

The flavored syrups used in coffee shops, such as vanilla or hazelnut, are sweetened with sugar and will add calories to your drink.

• Skip the whip.

The whipped cream on top of coffee drinks adds calories and fat.

• Get back to basics.

Order a plain cup of coffee with fat-free milk and artificial sweetener, or drink it black. If you have a hard time cutting all the calories at once, try cutting back on the sugar and fat a little bit at a time.

Many coffee shops offer a good variety of teas, green tea included, which can offer a nice taste and still be a healthy choice.

At the smoothie stand

• Order a child’s size if available.

• Ask to see the nutrition information for each type of smoothie, and pick the smoothie with the fewest calories.

• Hold the sugar.

Many smoothies contain added sugar in addition to the sugar naturally in fruit, juice, or yogurt. Ask that your smoothie be prepared without added sugar: the fruit is naturally sweet.

Hopefully these tips can help us cut back on the calories when needed. And don’t forget, you could even make your own coffee drinks and smoothies at home and save some money, but that’s a story for another day.