Liquid calories can add up quickly. Keep yours under control with our top picks at fast food restaurants or local coffee shops in your neighborhood. By Karen Ansel, MS, RD
When it comes to hidden fat and calories, your drink may be delivering more than you bargained for. In fact, sipping just one extra can of soda a day can add up to nearly 15 new and unwanted pounds in a year. But that liquid refreshment doesn’t need to add to your bottom line. We reveal the healthiest – and most waistline-friendly – drinks to grab on the go.
Starbucks – Espresso
Counterintuitive as it may seem, an espresso from Starbucks actually has less caffeine than a cup of Joe. With only 75 milligrams of caffeine per cup, this brew gives you a kick compared to the 260-milligram jolt you’d get from a tall coffee. How so? It all boils down to caffeine per ounce. Ounce per ounce, espresso does have more caffeine than coffee, roughly 75 milligrams versus 22 milligrams. But because that cup of java is 12 times bigger, its caffeine really adds up.
Jamba Juice – Probiotic Fruit & Yogurt Blends
Einstein Bros Bagels – Medium Iced Latte
Craving something cool and caffeinated? A medium iced latte from Einstein Bros Bagels hits the spot. Ask for yours with nonfat milk and you’ll shave off some serious fat and calories - and get 16 ounces of refreshment for a surprisingly low 60 calories and zero grams of fat. You’ll also score a quarter of your day’s calcium and 7 grams of high-quality protein.
McDonald’s - Small Nonfat Latte
Among its dizzying array of coffee drinks, frappes, shakes, and smoothies, McDonald’s serves up a winner. Its small, 12-ounce, nonfat latte packs as much calcium and protein as you’d get from a glass of milk, all for only 90 calories and zero grams of fat. Pair it with a Fruit and Maple Oatmeal for a hearty breakfast or an order of Apple Dippers with Low-fat Carmel Dip for a satisfying snack.
Seattle’s Best - Small Nonfat Chai Latte
One of the best nutrition bargains at Seattle’s Best is a tea drink. For only 140 calories and zero fat grams you can walk away with a chai latte that’s way skinnier than the competition. And if you don’t do dairy, you can still drink up. This spicy elixir is also available in a 150-calorie soy version. Did we mention that each variety packs 20% of your daily calcium, too?