Woman holding a large green mug of latte

Lighten up your latte

OCT 12, 2015
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Lighten up your latte


As soon as you feel the nip in the air, it’s tempting to switch out your healthy iced teas and fruit smoothies for comfy, cozy specialty coffees.


But those coffees can “pack quite a punch to your waistline,” according to Ricia Taylor, RD, a registered dietician in Kaiser Permanente’s Georgia Region. Specialty drinks from Starbucks, Peet’s, QT, Dunkin’ Donuts, and others can easily come in at between 200 and 500 calories. When you pair that with other warm, comfort foods of the season (can you say, homemade mac-n-cheese, chili, and fresh baked breads?), it’s easy to see how the pounds sneak on during the colder months.


Taylor offers some tips to reduce the damage of hearty fall drinks – so pour yourself a cup of coffee, and learn how to lighten up YOUR latte this season.




The Pumpkin Spice Coffee Case File:


A Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte, with whole milk and whipped cream – 420 calories, 18 g of fat (28 percent daily value), 220 mg of sodium, (9 percent), 52g carbohydrate (17 percent ), 14g of protein.


But with a few adjustments, those numbers can get better:

  • Nonfat milk, no whip, 260 calories
  • Caffe Latte, nonfat, no whip, 130 calories


By the numbers:

12 – Pumpkin Spice Latte was introduced 12 years ago.

58 – Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) survey where 58 percent of those 18 and older say they drank coffee “yesterday”

$32 billion – the retail value of the U.S. coffee market, says SCAA, with more than one-third (37 percent) being specialty coffees


Tips and tricks:

  • Skip the whole milk and cream (request skim milk or soy milk)
  • Skip the whipped topping
  • Do not sweeten your drink, or add your own sugar or sweetener so you control the amount.
  • Opt for the smallest size option – ask for the 8 ounce “short” size at Starbucks or a kid’s cup if available
  • Select a sugar-free syrup
  • Ask for fewer pumps of the regular syrup


At home:

  • -Swap out regular milk for almond milk – especially for your hot chocolate splurges, for a healthy, more protein packed drink
    • Cycle in your favorite hot teas, and use strong mint tea in your hot chocolate, for a great chocolate mint treat.
    • To cut the calories in your apple cider, cut the recipe in half – using half warm apple cider, and half your favorite cozy strong tea.


The Baristas’ Secret

A Skinny Little Latte: Steamed non-fat milk, with espresso, topped with layer of foam and sugar-free syrup. A Tall at Starbucks meets 30 percent of daily calcium needs.




Specialty Coffee Association of America

Starbucks Barista tips to lighten up holiday beverages


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