Enjoying a warming drink may be one of life's great pleasures, and a fine way to relax, but do you know how healthy your drink is? Often when we think about going on a diet, we tend to focus on food. While you may be paying meticulous attention to calories being consumed through meals, you may be overlooking the ones you are drinking.
A quick glance up at the average menu board in a coffee shop may have you unwittingly ordering a drink that is loaded with calories, fat and sugar. For example, a small hot chocolate from a high street coffee shop can contain as much as 20g of sugar. Throw into the mix full-fat milk topped with whipped cream, and you could be looking at 400+ calories from one drink. Those extra calories will spell trouble for your weight loss goals, not to mention increasing your chance of getting heart disease.
Coffee may seem like an innocent option, but order a large latte made with whole milk and you’re looking at 300 calories – and that’s before you add any sugar or sugary syrup.
Smart choices when ordering a hot beverage
Granted, milk is important for teeth and bone health but if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, skipping whole milk is a good idea. If milky coffee is your thing either go for a smaller size or switch to a skinny version with low-fat milk. Avoid flavoured drinks such as gingerbread lattes which come laden with sugary syrup.
You may naturally think that sugar-free varieties are by definition a better option, but this isn't always the case. Low calorie doesn’t always translate to healthy and can wreak havoc on your body.
My top tip: if you want a little extra flavour, sprinkle cinnamon on your beverage for a touch of sweetness without the calories. What’s more, cinnamon is known for its insulin regulating capabilities.
Another thing to watch out for is creamers. Often containing artificial flavours, sweeteners and additives, they can ruin your healthy intentions. Pick organic skimmed milk to whiten your coffee instead. Or, even better, stick to black coffee. Even a Starbucks-sized Americano contains only 15-20 calories without sugar. And if that is still too much, some milk-less teas can contain effectively zero calories.