Drinking your Calories this Party Season

When it comes to Nutrition, sometimes we forget just what is in the drinks that we consume each day.

And we don’t just mean Alcoholic drinks….

Without a doubt, your local Coffee Shop has marketed a new ‘Christmas Wintery’ themed drink this season, am I right? And am I right in saying that it is so tempting to give these new cozy hot drinks a try, especially with this cold weather? Who would blame us though, in an attempt to soak up the Christmas atmosphere, we cherish the chance to enjoy a hot drink while strolling under the Christmas lights. However, if there is one thing that is scarier than the post Christmas January bills, it’s what can actually be in your drink. Maybe you thought they just added some cinnamon and nutmeg to get the Christmassy taste, however, the ingredients list is far longer than that I’m afraid.

These drinks often take our usual, not so guilty pleasure, like a latte or cappuccino, and load them with sugar, syrups, sweets and cream, until they are bursting with calories, fat and sugar, and that’s before adding on the sweet cake or muffin they entice us into buying too.

For example, a Regular latte, made with semi skimmed milk from a well known coffee chain( can you guess which one?) contains just 188 calories, 7 grams of fat and 16.5 grams of sugar. Not bad right? However, take their Festive Toffee Nut Latte; 379 calories for the same size, 20.5 grams of fat and 38.4 grams of sugar…that’s a whopping difference!

We’re not saying to deprive yourself of your Christmas treats, just know what you are consuming and be informed, that way there will be no nasty surprises if you step on the scales after Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..

Comparing some Popular Festive Favourites

Below we have given a few examples of just how much sugar and fat can be found in the festive drinks. All values are for regular/medium size.

Drink                        Calories     Fat(g)     Sugar(g)

Gingerbread Latte                         343                   19.7             38.9

Pumpkin Spiced Latte                  424                   18.6             49.7

Carmalised Pecan Latte               275                    14.5             36.8

‘Billionaire’ Frostino Coffee         523                   20.9            66.8

Honeycomb Latte                         443                    24.9             39.9

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate           477                    22                 52

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate              496                   24                 53

Avoid the Common Pitfalls

Some expert tips from the team at GourmetFuel

  • Moderation! Of course you can enjoy the occasional sugary hot beverage or alcoholic drink, but do so in moderation. Depriving ourselves only makes us crave things more, so treat yourself every now and again (just not too often!). Why not get your favorite Christmas treat…but in a smaller size?

  • Pick the Smart Option! When it comes to coffee, go without cream if possible, don’t add extra sugar or syrup and try have your drink made with semi skimmed milk. And maybe you could go without the Marshmallows and whipped cream with that hot Chocolate?

  • Don’t go for the meal deal! A lot of Coffee shops offer an enticing discount when you buy your hot drink and sweet treat together, but go without the extra snack if possible! Enjoying the occasional sugary syrupy coffee is fine, but it’s when you start adding the calorific muffin and cake on top of that, that leads to problems. A muffin can have up to 550 calories, which on top of your Christmas beverage, all adds up!

  • Eat a balanced diet! If the majority of the time, you eat a healthy balanced diet, so what if you occasionally indulge in a festive beverage?! If you’re looking to stay healthy throughout the festive season, try out one of our meal plans. If you’re eating healthy the majority of the time, that little Christmas hot drink doesn’t seem so bad now, right?

  • Celebrate Christmas with some healthy treats! Try our healthy sweet snacks to feel like you are indulging this Christmas..without all the calories and sugar! Check out our healthy snacks here.

Speak with an Expert

About the Author:

Katie is a registered Associate Nutritionist with the UKVRN through the Association for Nutrition. Katie completed her Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Health in Glasgow Caledonian University and her Bachelors Degree in UCD in Health and Performance Science. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked in a kitchen catering company, and for Our Lady's Hospice Harolds Cross and is heavily involved with UCD Boxing Club. Her areas of interest are Vegetarian diets, disease prevention and Sports Nutrition.

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