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How to Make Your Coffee Stop Healthier

02/05/2015

I have been working as a Barista at a couple different coffee shops for the past 5.5 years. Although plain coffee with only two tablespoons of half-&-half is 45 calories and is by far the lowest-calorie thing you can get at a coffee shop (or make for way cheaper at home) there are some things you should know when making frou-frou coffee drink decisions.

1) Milk – My mom was a farmer growing up and her family had cows, so she and her mom sometimes made their own butter and things. When milk comes from the cow, the milk quickly separates into three layers. The top layer is the fattiest, and that is the layer that becomes milk and buttermilk. Then the second layer is scraped off, and that is what becomes heavy whipping cream. What is left is what becomes “whole milk” as we see it in the grocery store, and technically that is graded at 3% milk fat. Milk can be over 100 calories per cup and getting a drink Breve (with half-and-half) is considerably more calories because 2 TBSPs is 40 calories. So if you are getting anything other than a tall, get something closer to non-fat.

2) Syrup – The flavoring syrups are actually what give frou-frou drinks their calories. Two pumps of syrup is one ounce – the equivalent of one tablespoon. Two pumps is 100 calories. A Starbucks Tall drink has 3 pumps of flavored syrup, regardless of if it is a Mocha, a Vanilla Latte, or even a sweetened Iced Tea. And although you may be saving calories with “Sugar Free” syrups, you aren’t going any healthier because there are three times the amount of salt as well as addictive chemical compounds and hidden sugars. And really, if it is sweet your body will treat it as a sugar. The best thing to do is slowly reduce the number of pumps of sweet you get in your coffee until you reach the minimum you can tolerate. Ultimately, since one packet of actual sugar is 16 calories, that is the best option.

3) Whipped Cream – People treat whipped cream as if it is the make-all-break-all of a diet. Actually, 2 TBSPs of whipped cream are only 15 calories. If you’re getting a drink with all the pumps of syrup, which are way more than 15 calories, then you may as well go all-in and get the whipped cream as well.

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