The autumn / winter months are upon us and as the days are inevitably getting colder and the nights are drawing in - not to mention the dark mornings too - we often head to warmer climates that serve heart-warming (and highly calorific) drinks to take a break from the bitter cold.
But before you order your next Black Forest Hot Chocolate or Honeycomb Latte, you may want to continue reading this blog post to see whether your favourite 'to-go' is actually holding you back or worse.
So I'm sat in Costa Coffee as I type and have warmed myself up with a Large Hot Chocolate. Nothing fancy - no additional marshmallows or whipped cream - just a simple large mug of lush-ness. As I ordered my drink I asked the Barista for the Costa Product Nutrition & Allergy Guide for Costa Coffee (thats the title of the folder, not exactly how I asked for it!). I was handed the large file, to go with my large drink.
I flick through and come to my Hot Chocolate made with Skimmed Milk. Here's the nutritional information per portion:
- 312 Calories
- 4.3g Fat
- 49.7g Carbohydrates (39.6g of which are Sugars)
- 17.2g Protein
OK, so I didn't go into Costa today with my waistline in mind. I went thinking "I quite fancy a hot chocolate today..."
But if I was to be mindful or in fact was wanting to lose weight, reduce body fat or shed a few inches, this could be holding me back.
For example. If you're currently aiming for 1,600 calories per day, consuming pretty much 20% of your daily calories in one drink might not be ideal. Especially as you will probably be hungry shortly after, or worse, craving yet more chocolaty flavoured items (and that's a slippery slope you don't want to go down).
Don't get me wrong, there are far worse drinks on the menu, especially now they have their new Christmas Range available...
- Honeycomb Latte registers at a massive 513 calories with 29.6g Fat & 48.2g Carbohydrates
- Blackforest Hot Chocolate registers at as even bigger 580 calories with 29.8g Fat & 58.7g Carbohydrates
* And that, by the look of things, is without the optional whipped cream and other toppings you can add for a small fee - which will catapult your calories even higher.
- Whipped Cream adds an additional 153 calories, 4.5g Fat & 19.8g Carbohydrates per portion (portion sizes may vary)
These drinks might be worth saving for special occasions or for those days when you've attended one of our Modified Strongman Sessions and you require the calories post-workout.
"So what can I have that'll warm me through, take the edge off these colder days but keep me in line with my goals?"
Well, the first thing I'd suggest (which isn't on the Costa menu) is Hot Water & Lemon. Lemon Water will provide your body with plenty of hydrating electrolytes in the form of calcium, magnesium & potassium. It is also known to aid digestion whilst helping cleanse the liver along with many other benefits. You could also add some Honey to that too for it's anti-bacterial properties and sweetened taste.
However, A Long Jing Green Tea, which is what I sip on now to 'restore balance' is equally as good with just 'traces' of calories, fats, carbohydrates & protein. Green Tea's boast a host of health benefits which include being a powerful antioxidant, an immune support, a metabolic booster and research suggests it may also help lower the risk of certain types of cancers (plus many more health benefits!!).
Other drinks that show traces of calories etc are, Earl Grey Tea, Gingersnap Peach Infusion & Mint Humbug Infusion. All of which sound pretty tasty!
So it's fair to say you've got plenty of healthy options when it comes to your next visit to your local (or favourite) coffee shop.
Here are some alternatives of where you may be better off spending 300-500 calories, which will keep you in line with your goals...
- 200 calories or less - Soup
- 300 calories or less - Warm Chicken & Mango Salad
- 400 calories or less - Jacket Potato, Cheese & Beans
- 500 calories or less - Even a couple of slices of Pizza can come into play here...
This blog post isn't to persuade you to avoid those signature drinks over the next few months. Hey, if you've got a spare 300-500 calories or you can tailor it into your daily macros, go for it. However let is serve you as a reminder of what you can switch to instead, to keep you on track.