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with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years. For more information on nutrition and eating well, visit our Real Life Nutrition and Tasty. Easy. Healthy. blogs

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Starbucks’ Holiday Drinks — Do’s And Don’ts

Nothing answers the cry of a cold morning during the holidays than a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha. I was reminded of the pure joy of these hot holiday beverages the other day when my peaking anticipation for a Peppermint Mocha (I was meeting a friend at Starbucks) was met with horrifying disappointment when they announced to me that they were out of “it.” I settled for a skinny gingerbread latte (nonfat milk and no whip).

I was then inspired to dig deeper into the Starbuck’s nutrition database to come up with some holiday “do’s” and “don’ts” for people like me who aren’t exactly asking for extra calories and saturated fat this Christmas.

Starbucks Holiday Drinks “Do’s”

Do order the following holiday drinks if you want to keep your calories at 200:

  • Gingerbread Latte, 16 ounces, with nonfat milk and no whip = 200 calories, 0 grams fat
  • Light Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino, 16 ounces = 150 calories, 1 gram fat
  • Light Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, 16 ounces = 150 calories, .5 gram fat

Do order the following holiday drinks if you want to keep your calories less than 300 and fat grams less than 5:

  • Peppermint Mocha, 16 ounces, with nonfat milk and no whip = 280 calories, 3 grams fat
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte, 16 ounces, with nonfat milk and no whip = 260 calories, 0 gram fat

If you must have whipped cream on your holiday drink, do add the word “light” and ask for light whip. Depending on the drink and the Barista, whipped cream can add around 90 calories, 9 grams of fat and 6 grams of saturated fat. If they squirt half as much on your drink that would hopefully bring it down to 40-ish calories and 4 grams of fat.

Starbucks Holiday Drinks “Don’ts”

Avoid ordering these two drinks: the Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, and the Eggnog Latte. These are the two drinks in the Starbucks holiday beverage line-up that are high in calories no matter how you order them. Even with nonfat milk and no whip, the Eggnog Latte totals 450 calories and 18 grams of fat (11 grams saturated fat) for 16 ounces. And the White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha totals 430 calories and 7 grams of fat (5 grams saturated fat) for 16 ounces when ordered with nonfat milk and no whip.

Don’t think you are doing yourself a favor when you order the holiday hot chocolate options instead of the lattes. It’s still helpful to specify nonfat milk and no whip on these as well. The Peppermint Mocha Hot Chocolate or Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate made with lowfat milk and no whip is still 360 calories and 9 grams of fat. The nonfat milk option will bring it to 310 calories and around 3 grams of fat for the 16-ounce size.

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 8:55 am

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