VIRIN

There are steps you can take to make your favorite coffee beverage shed a few calories and servings of sugar.

Most of the world is coffee obsessed. Especially during the dark, winter months, coffee seems to keep pouring until lunch time, and then starts pouring again for that late afternoon pick-me-up. However, a large percentage of American coffee drinkers prefer just a little coffee on the side of their frothy cream and syrup. Many so-called coffee lovers are more turned onto creamer or Starbucks’ latest seasonal concoction than actual coffee.

An Acrons Money Matters report gathered that the average American spends approximately $1,100 a year — or $3 each day — on coffee. That doesn’t include coffee consumed at home. Roughly two-thirds of these drinkers add cream, sugar, or other flavorings.

In addition to throwing money at those cups of comfort, we are also wasting far too many calories. Just because it is a drink doesn’t mean it can’t contain the same amount of carbohydrates and calories as a hamburger (yes, that is true).

And sugar? Yikes. The American Heart Association suggests no more than 24 grams of sugar per day, and many popular Starbucks drinks have far more than that. A grande Caramel Frappuccino has 410 calories and a whopping 64 grams of sugar. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather eat the hamburger.

If you’ve entered 2018 with the goal to be healthier, it is a must to examine coffee intake. You’ll help your pocketbook, waistline, and your overall health in the long run.

But fear not, this doesn’t mean you have to go back to black or can’t enjoy your favorite coffee spot — just make some adjustments.

Roseburg’s Garden Valley Starbucks manager Regina Yutzie gives a few tips on better-for-ya-brews:

“We are launching a new blonde espresso line in January that is going to be amazing, and all the blonde espresso beverages have one less pumps of syrup, which lets the blonde espresso shine through. Blonde roast is my favorite!”

Yutzie also advises that altering pumps of syrup is a good option that shaves off a lot of calories, and to go with nonfat milk instead of 2-percent.

“You will find that you can have a skinny mocha with 1-2 pumps of peppermint and be just as satisfied as you would have been drinking the regular version, but way less sugar and calories,” she said.

Her favorite is a toasted white chocolate mocha, with peppermint — but she only adds half the syrup.

“A skinny vanilla latte with 1-2 pumps peppermint is another good option. If you love whipped cream, then go for it just ask for light whip,” she said.

Here are some more tips and coffee cheater tricks for staying healthy but still being able to enjoy something we love so much.

  • Be honest with yourself about how often you purchase coffee. Track it for a week. Often, our “once in awhile” treats are more frequent than we think. Then, make a plan for how many times you will buy coffee. A gift card is great for this as you can give yourself a monthly budget and stick to it.
  • Check the dreaded nutritional information. The best way to do this is online or the MyFitnessPal app. MyFitnessPal has almost every popular purchase so you can get an idea how many calories, sugars and carbs it has. The Starbucks app also has its nutritional information on its app. Check the numbers and serving size for purchased creamer as well. A sugar-free almond milk creamer may contain 30 calories for 8-fluid ounces, but a sugar-free dairy milk creamer usually packs 15-30 calories per tablespoon.
  • Measure. If you are using creamer at home, make sure to measure. What seems to you like a few drips can pack more than 100 calories. I like to weigh to be exact in grams, as measuring spoons can be way off.
  • Plan beforehand/order beforehand. We make poor choices on a whim, so spend a minute, check nutritional information online and plan what to get. Don’t be afraid to make a long order — they are barista professionals. If the line of people is too much pressure, the Starbucks app will customize your coffee and give you nutritional information. You can specify size, syrup, sugar, milk and toppings. Then have your order ready for you at the pick-up. Bonus: The app will then save that drink in your history.
  • Taste bud patience. Prepare to give yourself a couple of weeks before you start enjoying your healthier version of coffee. Your taste buds are going to experience something less sweet, but your body will rejoice. After a bit of time, you won’t even miss it.
  • Allow treats. When your favorite seasonal drink comes out, drink one in all its full-fat glory. One drink even once per month isn’t going to deter your goals. (You might be pleasantly surprised that you don’t like it as much as you remember!)

Brittany Arnold is the Douglas County Family editor and can be reached at barnold@nrtoday.com.

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