What would the world be like without Starbucks and other coffee shops? Somewhat thinner, perhaps. These havens for coffee lovers, specialising in sweet drinks to wash down irresistible pastries and cakes, have become a staple everywhere – there are 15,000 Starbucks around the world. That’s not counting all the smaller chains and local coffee shops.
What’s worrying is that they’re a major, often hidden, source of fat and kilojoules. Did you know that a Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino made with full-cream milk and whipped cream has more kilojoules and saturated fat than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese? Read on to find out how to make coffee shop visits healthier.
1. Classify pastries as treats, not breakfast. A pastry as an occasional treat is fine, but as a breakfast it’s disastrous. Not only will the simple carbohydrates and high sugar leave you drooping and hungry an hour later, but you get little to no nutritional benefit from the fat and kilojoules. If you eat on the run at your coffee shop, order a wholemeal bagel.
2. Classify speciality coffee drinks as dessert, not coffee. Fancy-flavoured, whipped-cream, hard-to-pronounce coffee drinks can be worse for you than a big slice of cake. For example, a medium Java Chip Frappuccino with whipped cream at Starbucks has 2130 kilojoules, 22 g of fat and 59 g of sugar. Of the various cakes, muffins and pastries Starbucks lists on its website, most have fewer kilojoules per serving than the drink. If you must have a fancy coffee drink, treat it like a banana split or a cake – a rare indulgence, to be had by itself and not as a mere beverage.
3. Choose biscotti. These twice-baked Italian delicacies are perfect for dunking; at Starbucks they carry just 460 kilojoules and 5 g of fat.
4. Order plain coffee and add the extras yourself. Not only are many of the speciality coffee drinks at coffee shops loaded with fat and kilojoules, but some items are made from mixes, some of which may contain large amounts of trans fats. The solution: get a black coffee and add in healthy amounts of skim milk, sugar or sugar substitute and, if you wish, top with separate flavourings such as ground chocolate or cinnamon.